NPR Video, Part 2

I haven’t had a chance to watch to the whole thing, but the news appears to be that a woman identified as an NPR executive talked about helping to shield the Muslim Brotherhood front group from a government audit.

The woman is named as Betsy Liley, the senior director for institutional giving, who was also at the table during the first NPR video.

Will Wisconsin Be The Beginning of Something Big for Democrats?

Ever since protests broke out at Wisconsin’s capital last month, there’s been a question of whether it could spark a liberal version of the Tea Party movement. That question became a bit more pronounced last night, as Republicans used a legislative tactic to overcome Democrats’ attempts to block the Senate from being able to pass the budget fix bill that also reduced public sector union’s bargaining power. The liberal outrage in response has been compared to the conservative backlash when Democrats used the reconciliation process to pass the health care law. Nate Silver has some insights about whether this can galvanize the Democratic base as health care galvanized the GOP base in 2010. Anything can happen, but there are two main reasons to think it won’t be as galvanizing. The first is that health care is a much more personal and important issue that affects everybody, whereas the issue of public sector bargaining power is mainly a motivating concern for unions and liberal activists. The second is that health care was a national issue, not just a case of a single state — say, Massachusetts — enacting things. The rallying cry in 2010 was that changing Congress was a way to start the process of repealing a law that will have a big affect on everybody in the country. Maybe a “recall” effort in 2012 would have an impact on Wisconsin — an Obama 2008 state that was a possible pickup opportunity for Republicans — but at least right now, I don’t see it as an enduring, national, rallying cry.

Senate Rejects Democrats’ Spending Bill

The Senate has also rejected the Democratic version of the spending bill, 52 to 48. This means that neither spending bill has won a majority, let alone near the 60 required for passage. Congress and the White House have a long way to go to avert a government shutdown.

Senate Rejects GOP House Spending Bill

The Senate has just rejected the budget bill that passed the Republican majority House, 44 to 56, with 60 votes needed for passage.

The vote generally went along party lines, but three conservative Senators (Rand Paul, Jim DeMint, and Mike Lee) voted against the bill, presumably because they think the spending cuts don’t go far enough.

Newt Too Patriotic to Be Faithful

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, trying to explain why he cheated on his first two wives, had this to say in an interview with CBN’s David Brody:

“There’s no question at times of my life, partially driven by how passionately I felt about this country, that I worked far too hard and things happened in my life that were not appropriate.  And what I can tell you is that when I did things that were wrong, I wasn’t trapped in situation ethics, I was doing things that were wrong, and yet, I was doing them.  I found that I felt compelled to seek God’s forgiveness.  Not God’s understanding, but God’s forgiveness.”

While he is admitting that he did something wrong, he’s also trying to justify his behavior by aggrandizing himself. My own view is, when you’re owning up to something, you own up to it fully. You don’t try to explain or justify it yourself. The problem Gingrich faces when it comes to his personal problems is that the best possible argument a politician can make in these cases is that people should separate personal indiscretions from performance in office. Yet as leader of the effort to impeach President Clinton during the Monica Lewinsky scandal, Gingrich is in the worst possible position to make that argument. So we’ll have to keep a close watch on how this goes over with the base.

In the meantime, I wouldn’t recommend any cheating guys tell their wives/girlfriends, “Sorry honey, I was just acting on my passion for my country.”

David Broder, RIP

Long-time Washington Post reporter David Broder, the so-called “dean” of the DC press corps, died at 81 today from complications relating to diabetes, the Post reports.

Broder was working up until the very end, and anybody who covers politics for a living has probably bumped into him at one point or another. I remember covering the Rudy Giuliani campaign during a cold weekend in New Hampshire in November 2007, and Broder, then in his late 70s, was touring along. I noticed him at one event, standing in the back, his hand slightly shaking as he took notes the old fashioned way while younger reporters were running around with digital recorders and scrambling to upload video on their laptops.

I wondered whether I’d still find the campaign trail so alluring when I reached that age.

Senate Far From Budget Deal

With a government shutdown looming next Friday if no deal is reached, Republican and Democratic Senators are moving further and further apart, with Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer arguing that tax increases and further cuts to defense should be on the table, along with ending some agriculture subsidies and putting mandatory spending on the table.

Thus far, the GOP budget bill has focused on cuts to discretionary spending. The Senate is expected later today to vote on the House-passed budget, but it doesn’t stand a chance of passing — nor does the Democratic alternative.

Republican leaders clearly want to avert a government shutdown, because they fear that they’ll lose the battle over public opinion, as most people not named Newt Gingrich believe they did back during the 1995/96 budget fights. The Hill reports that they’re planning a second stopgap spending measure to delay that possibility again, but they can’t keep doing that forever. We’re nearly six months into the 2011 fiscal year already.

Also, next month Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan is set to unveil the GOP budget for 2012, which will include a 10-year blueprint. That’s likely to be an even bigger fight.

NPR’s CEO Vivian Schiller Forced Out by Board

NPR CEO Vivian Schiller —  who was at the center of the Juan Williams firing controversy — is gone in the wake of the undercover video showing a departing executive holding a donor lunch with men posing as representatives of a Muslim Brotherhood front group.

In the video, the then NPR executive went after everybody from Jews to conservatives to Americans in general for being stupid. He was already on his way out, but now the video has claimed a bigger fish.

“BREAKING: The board for NPR NEWS has just ousted CEO Vivian Schiller in the wake of video sting by conservative activist of a top exec,” NPR’s media correspondent David Folkenflik tweeted a short while ago.

UPDATE: Here’s NPR’s official story/statement.

Reid Warns GOP Budget Cuts Will Harm…Cowboy Poets!

It ain’t easy being a cowboy poet in John Boehner’s America.

Earlier today, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid blasted the House Republicans’ “mean-spirited” spending cuts for, among other things, endangering Nevada’s cowboy poetry festival. Yep, you’ve got that right:

“The mean-spirited bill, H.R. 1, eliminates National Public Broadcasting,” said Reid in a floor speech. “It eliminates the National Endowment of the Humanities, National Endowment of the Arts. These programs create jobs. The National Endowment of the Humanities is the reason we have in northern Nevada every January a cowboy poetry festival. Had that program not been around, the tens of thousands of people who come there every year would not exist.”

Something tells me that this isn’t going to be the greatest argument for Democrats in the budget fight.

Guy Benson at Townhall has the video. Below, there’s a video of some cowboys telling stories at this year’s festival: