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Paul Begala

Entries by Paul Begala

Obama's SOTU: Putting the Jam on the Lower Shelf So the Little People Can Reach It

(463) Comments | Posted January 25, 2011 | 9:09 PM

We have long known that Barack Obama can do the "vision thing." In this State of the Union address, though, he did the specific thing.

This president, who reportedly pores over every David Brooks column, rejected the Times man's elite advice and instead spoke directly to the guy who drives...

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Be Liberal; Be Generous

(980) Comments | Posted November 25, 2010 | 9:00 AM

This Thanksgiving I am grateful for that quintessentially liberal virtue: generosity.

I am grateful for Warren Buffett and Bill Gates and the other billionaires who have pledged half their fortunes to philanthropy.

I am grateful to the "Patriotic Millionaires" who have written an open letter to President Obama,...

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A Centrist Democratic Agenda: More Jobs, Less Corruption

(1107) Comments | Posted November 2, 2010 | 9:03 PM

Dear Democrats: I feel your pain. I've been there. I was one of President Clinton's chief political advisers when we lost 52 House seats and eight Senate seats -- and then we lost a ninth when Dick Shelby of Alabama switched parties.

So many commentators have compared the present situation...

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(814) Comments | Posted March 21, 2010 | 11:51 PM

I have been working for Democratic and progressive causes for 29 years, and I don't think I've ever been prouder than today. When David Obey swung that gavel -- the same gavel used to hammer home Medicare -- and struck it on that historic rostrum, it made a joyful noise...

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Pass the Senate Bill, Please

(1367) Comments | Posted January 24, 2010 | 1:44 PM

In an op-ed several months ago, I advised my fellow progressive Democrats to support health care reform even if it fails to include some of their cherished goals.

Now I'm begging.

I understand and share the frustrations of progressives. They compromised before the debate...

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A Warrior on a Mission in Rush Limbaugh's Home District

(323) Comments | Posted November 10, 2009 | 9:36 PM

Democrats who may be worried about the 2010 congressional races have a long shot hero this Veterans' Day in a most unlikely place: Rush Limbaugh's home congressional district, the 8th District of Missouri.

The southeast corner of Missouri reared Rush, but it may be about to redeem itself. This...

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A Sign of the Times

(636) Comments | Posted September 13, 2009 | 1:42 AM

The sign said it all. It was not some last-minute message some meth addict scrawled in crayon on a scrap of cardboard. No, this sign was professionally printed. White block letters on a blue background, the four-word message was in all caps. Someone had to have thought this through. Someone...

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Why I Loved Obama's Health Care Speech

(699) Comments | Posted September 9, 2009 | 11:41 PM

I loved Pres. Obama's speech. It rallied dispirited Democrats, reassured disenchanted independents and intimidated Republicans. He called a lie a lie, and pledged to call out the right-wing thugs if (well, when) they continue lying.

The President shone a spotlight on the sin of rescission --...

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Sarah Palin Turns Pro

(1738) Comments | Posted July 3, 2009 | 10:35 PM

I wish Hunter S. Thompson had lived to see this.

As Hunter said, "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." Sarah Palin makes Mark Foley, the congressman who sent filthy emails to pages look almost normal. She makes David Vitter, the senator who was hanging out with...

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Mr. Cheney, You Did Not Keep Us Safe

(1346) Comments | Posted May 13, 2009 | 12:36 PM

If 3,000 Americans had been killed on your watch, in an attack that could have been prevented, perhaps you'd be a little hesitant to accuse anyone else of endangering America. And if you had advocated torture, and the torture produced false information that you used to mislead America into...

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Yes, National Review, We Did Execute Japanese for Waterboarding

(879) Comments | Posted April 24, 2009 | 3:53 PM

In a CNN debate with Ari Fleischer, I said the United States executed Japanese war criminals for waterboarding. My point was that it is disingenuous for Bush Republicans to argue that waterboarding is not torture and thus illegal. It's kind of awkward to argue that waterboarding is not a...

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Al Franken Wins Minnesota Senate Race...Again

(263) Comments | Posted April 15, 2009 | 10:21 AM

If character were oil, Norm Coleman would be a quart low.

He has lost the Minnesota Senate race -- well, he lost it five months ago. He also lost the recount. And the lawsuit. You see a trend here? Norm, buddy, you lost. As the old country...

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A Tribute to Ron Silver

(26) Comments | Posted March 15, 2009 | 10:47 PM

With the passing of activist and actor Ron Silver, the intersection of art and politics has lost one of the truly good guys. I did not know Ron well, but we'd run into each other at various political events. As he moved from left to right he maintained a sense...

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Bring Back the Stocks

(478) Comments | Posted January 22, 2009 | 6:45 PM

As President Obama ushers in a new era of good feeling, allow me this potentially discordant note. As we finally and belatedly stop torturing people, can we please start humiliating sleazeballs?

Bring back stocks. Not the equities that are tanking on Wall Street; the ancient English punishment wherein a...

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Thankful for a President-elect Willing to Challenge the Ossified Status Quo... of College Football

(68) Comments | Posted November 27, 2008 | 7:20 PM

This Thanksgiving I am grateful we have a president-elect with the clarity to see evil and the courage to confront it. In his final interview as a presidential candidate, and again in his first interview as president-elect, Barack Obama stood strong against the focus of evil in the modern world:...

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The McCain-Palin Lies and the Neil Armstrong Principle

(1323) Comments | Posted September 9, 2008 | 10:04 PM

If John McCain and Sarah Palin were to say the moon was made of green cheese, we can be certain that Barack Obama and Joe Biden would pounce on it, and point out it's actually made of rock. And you just know the headline in the paper the next...

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Please, Democrats, Attack

(585) Comments | Posted August 26, 2008 | 10:22 AM

Michelle Obama was spectacular Monday night. Poised, charming, beautiful, and most of all, authentic.

Ted Kennedy was heroic. Rising out of a wheelchair to stride out on stage, he showed us all the meaning of courage.

But unless you're married to the nominee or fighting off brain cancer, each speaker...

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Oppose Bush's Vulgar Lies and Pornographic War: Send Money to Al Franken

(126) Comments | Posted June 19, 2008 | 6:54 PM

It is a minor journalistic cliché to call former Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson "a gifted wordsmith." That he is. Gerson is the devout Christian (just ask him) whose presidential speeches contained subliminal messages to evangelicals ("wonder-working power", "an angel rides the whirlwind," etc.).

Gerson used these dog-whistle techniques to...

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Hillary and Jackie

(1030) Comments | Posted June 3, 2008 | 10:56 AM

Ask my ten-year-old Little Leaguer, Charlie, who his all-time favorite baseball player is and you won't hear Jeter or Berkman or Big Papi. Nor even Mickey Mantle, whose autographed picture hangs in Charlie's room -- a gift from The Mick to Charlie's dad.

Without hesitation Charlie will say, "Jackie." As...

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Bush Uses Holy Land Pulpit to Launch Smear Campaign

(548) Comments | Posted May 15, 2008 | 1:21 PM

George W. Bush is unworthy of the presidency. He is a disgrace to himself, our Nation, and the high office he holds.

In a speech to the Israeli Knesset on Thursday, Mr. Bush forfeited the last scraps of his moral authority, dishonoring himself by using one of...

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