Posts filed under ‘2012 Election’
Love her new, fresh ideas!
The discouraging thing about the “fiscal cliff” negotiations is not that they have gone into the eleventh hour, or that they may go into the new year, or even that they won’t resolve the long-term budget deficit. It’s that President Obama has retreated on his hard line on taxes. In the months before the election, and in the weeks after his victory, Obama had a clear position: The Bush tax cuts for income over $250,000 were ending. He would not sign any extension, and if Republicans refused to extend tax cuts for income below that level, he would hold them responsible for it until they did.
Now, by all accounts, Obama is prepared to extend the Bush tax cuts up to $400,000 a year. Or maybe more. As of Friday, Obama had told Republicans they could have the tax cuts extended on income up to $400,000 if they would accept the estate tax rising from its Bush-set rates. As of last night, Democrats were conceding the estate tax plus the higher exemption on tax rates, which had risen to $450,000. And Republicans still hadn’t agreed to it! Why would they, when Democrats keep hurling money at them? By midnight, Republicans might be getting the Saturday Night Live version of Obama’s offer (“a 1% raise on the top two Americans — just two people”).
The erosion signals not only a major substantive problem in its own right, but it also raises disturbing questions about Obama’s ability to handle his entire second term agenda.
Obama is surely going to have to accept a lot of bad policies in his negotiations with Republicans (a fact I’ve argued to some of my harder-line liberal friends in several columns). But the tax cuts are the one area where he enjoys overwhelming leverage over the Republicans. Their only threat is to block extension of tax cuts on income under $250,000, a wildly unpopular stance countless Republicans have acknowledged they could not sustain for long without courting an enormous public backlash. This is the hand where Obama needed to collect all the chips.
The negotiating style Obama has displayed in these instances is what poker players call “tight-weak.” A tight-strong player avoids throwing in his chips, saving them for a big hand, which he plays aggressively in hopes of a huge win. A loose-weak player plays lots of hands, bluffing frequently. Tight-weak is the worst of all worlds — when you have a weak hand, you lose, and when you have a strong hand, you fail to maximize your position.
Obama claims, and seems to genuinely believe, that he won’t let Republicans jack him up over the debt ceiling again. But if Republicans could hold the middle class tax cuts hostage, they’ll try to hold the debt ceiling hostage. Indeed, they will probably discover other areas of traditionally routine policy agreement that can be turned into extortion opportunities.
Obama may think his conciliatory approach has helped avoid economic chaos. Instead, he is courting it.
Obama has the support of the American people when it comes to taxing income over $250,000. But, it appears he has caved on that, so one wonders what it would take for him to play a “tight-strong” hand for once, if he won’t do it on this.
For example, yesterday on Meet the Press, Obama said he would put his “full weight” behind passing some sort of gun control legislation next year. Yeah, right. I’ll believe it when I see it. Obama campaigned for a year on tax increased for those making above $250,000 but here we are, looking at a $450,000 threshold.
Pennsylvania Democratic Congressman Jason Altmire appeared on the Melissa Harris-Perry Show this morning to talk about the near-impossibility of getting things done in Washington. He said that inertia “is the reason” he isn’t returning next session.
Well, not exactly. The reason Altmire isn’t returning is because he got voted out:
Two incumbent Democratic House members in Pennsylvania lost their seats in Tuesday’s primaries, as one was ousted by a political newcomer and the other was bounced in a member-against-member matchup.
Holden, a 10-term congressman, was joined by Rep. Jason Altmire as the second incumbent Democrat to lose Tuesday. Altmire was beaten by fellow Democratic Rep. Mark Critz in a race in which each overwhelmingly won their home counties.
Critz beat Altmire in the third of 13 sets of races in which lawmakers are facing off in member-vs.-member battles because of the 2012 redistricting process that changed congressional district lines based on population shifts.
Altmire was the early favorite because the majority of the new congresssional district is composed of his old district, which he has represented since 2006, but Critz benefited from organized labor support and the endorsement of former president Bill Clinton.
Labor groups and liberal Democrats targeted Altmire for defeat largely because he voted against the 2010 health care law.
Oh, and what’s Altmire going to do now?
During the debate over health care reform, Blue Dog Democrat Rep. Jason Altmire (PA) pushed against progressives, voting against one version of the health care bill because it included a wealth tax and also lead opposition to a public option.
Unfortunately, in Washington, siding with big corporations pays. Late last night, Altmire announced that he will be taking a lobbying position with Blue Cross/Blue Shield in Florida. His title will be “Senior Vice President for Public Policy, Government and Community Affairs.”
What a guy.
Here’s an amazing quote from Tagg Romney:
“He wanted to be president less than anyone I’ve met in my life. He had no desire to . . . run,” said Tagg, who worked with his mother, Ann, to persuade his father to seek the presidency. “If he could have found someone else to take his place . . . he would have been ecstatic to step aside. He is a very private person who loves his family deeply and wants to be with them, but he has deep faith in God and he loves his country, but he doesn’t love the attention.”
I know so many people, me included, who wondered all along why in the world Romney was running. He didn’t seem to have a passion for governing or public service or a passion for any particular issue. So now we know, “he had no desire to run.”
I guess he did it for Ann, who always seemed to me to want to be queen.
Geezus, say it ain’t so already:
Even some of the president’s closest advisers said they were surprised by the ferocity of the Republican opposition.
“It’s kind of a stunning thing to watch the way this has unfolded, at least to date,” said David Axelrod, one of Mr. Obama’s longtime advisers. “The question is, how do you break free from these strident voices?”
How can this be? What world are they living in?
earned benefits “entitlements” on the table and guess what happens:
For the life of me I can’t understand why Obama isn’t protecting the big three — Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid — programs which Americans love and hold dear.
I could have sworn we just had an election during which the American people were crystal clear about this:
CBS poll: 69 percent of Americans, and 51 percent of Republicans, support tax hikes on those over $250,000. And yet here we [as in Obama] are, debating over whether they should go up on those over $400,000, or over $1 million.
Hah. This is what happens when a politician lives inside the Fox News/World Net Daily bubble. They’re oblivious as to how radical their agenda is, and as to it being embraced by the electorate. Or not. In this case, or not:
Just last month when we took a first look at the 2014 landscape we talked about how much Rick Snyder had improved his popularity during his second year in office and how he led a generic Democrat for reelection by 6 points, even as Barack Obama won the state comfortably.
Last week he threw all that out the window.
We now find Snyder as one of the most unpopular Governors in the country. Only 38% of voters approve of him to 56% who disapprove. There are only 2 other sitting Governors we’ve polled on who have a worse net approval rating than Snyder’s -18. He’s dropped a net 28 points from our last poll on him, the weekend before the election, when he was at a +10 spread (47/37).
There’s not much doubt that it’s the right to work law and his embrace of other actions by the Republican legislature that are driving this precipitous drop in Snyder’s popularity. Only 41% of voters in the state support the right to work legislation, while 51% are opposed to it. …
Snyder trails every Democrat we tested against him in a hypothetical match up. He’s down 49/38 to 2010 opponent Virg Bernero, 47/39 to Congressman Gary Peters, 46/38 to State Senator Gretchen Whitmer, and 44/39 to former Congressman Mark Schauer. The Bernero numbers are what’s most striking there. Snyder defeated Bernero by 18 points in 2010, so Bernero’s 11 point advantage represents a 29 point reversal.
I would love it if Virg Bernero (he’s the Mayor of Lansing, Michigan) ran against Snyder again. Bernero’s fantastic; a real firebrand. If you get a chance to hear him speak, try to take the time to listen. He doesn’t mince words. He’s a little like Chris Christie, but progressive.
As a resident of Colorado and one who voted in favor of legalizing marijuana, I say wise move Obama. If his Justice Department had gone against the will of the voters here, and in Washington state, there would have been hell to pay:
Obama Will Not Go After States Where Pot is Legal
President Barack Obama says he won’t go after Washington state and Colorado for legalizing marijuana.
In a Barbara Walters interview airing Friday on ABC, Obama is asked whether he supports making pot legal. He says — quote — “I wouldn’t go that far.”
But the president won’t pursue the issue in the states where voters legalized the use of marijuana in the November elections. Marijuana remains illegal under federal law.
Obama says — quote — “It does not make sense from a prioritization point of view” to focus on drug use in states where it is now legal.
Now stick to it.
Hey, if you can’t get people to vote for you because of your ideas, you have to get creative:
Republican campaign consultant Scott Tranter [a former Romney campaign adviser] appeared on a panel Monday hosted by the Pew Center on the States to discuss the long lines and voter ID controversies that plagued the 2012 election. In his comments, Tranter seemed to imply that he believed these issues were helpful to Republicans and should be pursued for that reason.
“A lot of us are campaign officials — or campaign professionals — and we want to do everything we can to help our side. Sometimes we think that’s voter ID, sometimes we think that’s longer lines — whatever it may be,” Tranter said with a laugh.
Tranter “seemed to imply?” I don’t think he “implied” at all. It seems pretty clear to me he thinks voter ID laws and long lines “help our side.” Why else would Republicans all across the country be focusing on making sure we have both?
For more and to see a video of Tranter making these remarks, go here.
So, so, SO, SO true (my Tweet of the Day):
This, from Politico:
Paul Ryan took an unmistakable shot Tuesday at Mitt Romney’s assertion that 47 percent of Americans would never vote Republican because they are too dependent on government.
“Both parties tend to divide Americans into ‘our voters’ and ‘their voters,’” the Wisconsin congressman told hundreds of well-to-do conservatives at an awards dinner in a Washington ballroom. “Republicans must steer far clear of that trap. We must speak to the aspirations and anxieties of every American. I believe we can turn on the engines of upward mobility so that no one is left out from the promise of America.”
Gee. I thought we had an election a few weeks ago and a majority of the American people said
A number of Democratic leaders — including Reps. Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), John Larson (Conn.) and Xavier Becerra (Calif.) — have said they would support some spending reductions in Medicare, but that cuts to direct benefits should not be a part of the negotiations. Along with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), they also maintain that Social Security reform has no place at all in the “fiscal cliff” talks.
But Hoyer, the Democratic whip, warned that taking entitlement benefits off the table is a bad place to start the negotiations. Such entrenched positions are little different, he said, than the Republicans’ refusal to consider hikes in tax rates — a central element of President Obama’s deficit-reduction proposal.
Hoyer said GOP proposals to raise the Medicare eligibility age, make wealthier seniors pay higher Medicare rates and limit the cost-of-living increases for some federal programs are legitimate ones, even as he warned he might not support them.
“They clearly are on the table,” Hoyer said of the Medicare changes during his weekly press briefing in the Capitol. “They were on the table in the Boehner-Obama talks. They’ve been on the table for some period of time. That does not mean that I’d be prepared to adopt them now, but they’re clearly, I think, on the table.”
Un. Believe. Able. Democrats don’t get that they’d be loved for at least a generation if they’d stand up for Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security and instead raise revenue by raising income taxes on the rich, raising the income limit on Social Security and cutting defense spending.
The people who voted for Obama aren’t the only ones who oppose Medicare cuts. A majority of Republicans do too: Republican Voters Don’t Want to Cut Medicare.
These folks just had a nice long vacation outside D.C. but the corporate lobbyists have already re-occupied their brains.
Here is a rather fascinating article about Mitt Romney’s post-election state of mind and what he has been doing for the last month: A Detached Romney Tends Wounds in Seclusion After Failed White House Bid.
The two sentences in it that struck me the most are:
By all accounts, the past month has been most difficult on Romney’s wife, Ann, who friends said believed up until the end that ascending to the White House was their destiny. They said she has been crying in private and trying to get back to riding her horses.
I’m glad friends are confirming Ann Romney “believed up until the end that ascending to the White House was their destiny” because that’s exactly the vibe I got from her. She didn’t exude a sense of duty or purpose. She came across as arrogant, condescending and irritated, as if the campaign was a silly exercise to be gotten through before her family finally got what was rightfully and obviously theirs: keys to the White House. And that attitude, imho, was one of things that doomed Mitt’s campaign.
A little introspection might be in order here, Ann.
Remember this guy?
Well, oops, he’s having second thoughts about having that big Romney/Ryan logo on the side of his face for the rest of his life:
The indignities of losing a presidential race don’t stop on election night.
Since Nov. 6, Mitt Romney has seen his Facebook followers dwindle, and his merchandise land in the discount bin. Now, a professional wrestler with a Romney/Ryan logo facial tattoo is planning to remove it, calling Romney’s post-campaign performance “pretty shameful.”
Eric Hartsburg told Politico the final straw came when the former GOP presidential candidate attributed his loss to President Barack Obama’s “gifts” to minorities.
“It stands not only for a losing campaign, but for a sore loser,” Hartsburg said. “He’s pretty shameful as far as I’m concerned, man. There’s no dignity in blaming somebody else for buying votes and paying off people. I can’t get behind that or stay behind that.”
But the 30-year-old is now planning to fly to Los Angeles to have the tattoo removed, a year-long process. He hasn’t ruled out getting another tattoo, maybe in 2016 when the “R” could do double duty for a potential Marco Rubio candidacy. Or, maybe, he said, he’ll just get a yard sign next time.
A yard sign next time? Hey, now you’re thinkin’!
So much for Obama turning into a liberal socialist hippie during his second term. Or, put another way, YOU’VE GOT TO BE KIDDING:
Former Sen. Chuck Hagel is being vetted for top security posts in the Obama administration, according to a report.
Foreign Policy magazine reported on Wednesday that the Nebraska Republican is being vetted for secretary of State or Defense.
Hagel, a centrist on foreign policy, has expressed support for some of the Obama administration’s recent national security policies.
So what’s the deal Obama? “Reaching across the isle” again huh? Being a “community organizer?” Can’t find any Democrats who might fill the bill?
Come on man!
The real Mitt is back!
Here’s a fascinating article by former Republican insider (and I mean way, way insider) Bruce Bartlett about his political evolution and how he came to be shunned by his reality-adverse party, including being banned from Fox so-called-News and having former “friends” cross the street when they see him coming.
A couple of weeks before the 2004 election, Suskind wrote a long article for the New York Times Magazine that quoted some of my comments to him that were highly critical of Bush and the drift of Republican policy
Finally, I started asking people about it. Not one person had read it or cared in the slightest what the New York Times had to say about anything. They all viewed it as having as much credibility as Pravda and a similar political philosophy as well. Some were indignant that I would even suspect them of reading a left-wing rag such as the New York Times.
I was flabbergasted. Until that moment I had not realized how closed the right-wing mind had become. Even assuming that my friends’ view of the Times’ philosophy was correct, which it most certainly was not, why would they not want to know what their enemy was thinking? This was my first exposure to what has been called “epistemic closure” among conservatives—living in their own bubble where nonsensical ideas circulate with no contradiction.
Among the interesting reactions to my book is that I was banned from Fox News. My publicist was told that orders had come down from on high that it was to receive no publicity whatsoever, not even attacks. Whoever gave that order was smart; attacks from the right would have sold books. Being ignored was poison for sales.
I later learned that the order to ignore me extended throughout Rupert Murdoch’s empire. For example, I stopped being quoted in the Wall Street Journal.* Awhile back, a reporter who left the Journal confirmed to me that the paper had given her orders not to mention me. Other dissident conservatives, such as David Frum and Andrew Sullivan, have told me that they are banned from Fox as well. More epistemic closure.
At least a few conservatives now recognize that Republicans suffer for epistemic closure. They were genuinely shocked at Romney’s loss because they ignored every poll not produced by a right-wing pollster such as Rasmussen or approved by right-wing pundits such as the perpetually wrong Dick Morris. Living in the Fox News cocoon, most Republicans had no clue that they were losing or that their ideas were both stupid and politically unpopular.
A friend sent me a link to this petition at Democracy for America:
About the Petition
Republicans are ginning up the “fiscal cliff” to scare Americans and force Democrats to extend the Bush tax cuts, while demanding cuts to vital programs like Medicare.
That’s a bad deal. Our country can’t afford to give away huge tax cuts to the rich and our seniors can’t afford to live without Medicare or Social Security. Congress needs to reject any deal that extends the Bush tax cuts for the rich or make cuts to vital programs.
I’m all for what the petition says and I know we need to keep pressuring our representatives (from the president on down to local city council members) to do what they were elected to do but the fact that we have to draw up a petition asking Democrats to do what We the People elected them to do (the results were crystal clear), THREE WEEKS AFTER THE ELECTION, speaks to how much we distrust them, and it’s a distrust they’ve earned.
The message we sent should still be ringing in their ears. It should ring in their ears for months if not years.
Ugh. It’s astonishing how quickly they get sucked back into K-Street-DC-land.
In January, televangelist Pat Robertson told 700 Club viewers that in his annual New Year’s “conversation” with God, the Almighty had revealed to him who the next president would be. Up through Election Day, Robertson harshly criticizedPresident Obama and the Democratic Party while praisingMitt Romney. Then, Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network predicted a GOP sweep, leaving Robertson utterly confounded by Obama’s victory.
Today, responding to a question from a viewer who wondered why her business is struggling since she thought God told her it would be successful, Robertson admitted that he sometimes misses God’s message. “So many of us miss God, I won’t get into great detail about elections but I sure did miss it, I thought I heard from God, I thought I had heard clearly from God, what happened?” Robertson replied, “You ask God, how did I miss it? Well, we all do and I have a lot of practice.”
Watch the video here, if you can stand it.
Is this perfect or what?
When all the votes are counted, could Mitt Romney really end up achieving perfect poetic justice by finishing with 47 percent of the national vote? Yup. Dave Wasserman of the nonpartisan Cook Political Report says new votes in from Maryland put Romney at 47.56 percent. He predicts with certainty that with all of New York and California counted, Romney will end up below 47.5 percent of the vote.
Rounded, of course, that would put the final tally at 51-47.
Romney: The 47 percenter forever, on into eternity.
Here we have Democrats being wimps again, just two weeks after the American people said no to cutting
entitlements earned benefits:
Dems already signaling flexibility on entitlements: Relatedly, the Wall Street Journal quotes named and unnamed Democrats who are already saying they are prepared to give some ground on entitlement reform. It’s a bit odd that Dems would signal this at the outset, particularly given that Republicans continue to only show flexibility on tax loopholes, and not tax rates — meaning they are not making any big concessions.
I have to wonder what kind of election results would be required to force Democrats to grow a pair and to ahem, act like Democrats.
Buzzfeed posted this photo of Mitt Romney this morning (they don’t say where or when it was taken) under the headline: “Mitt Romney Surfaces at a Gas Station Looking Very Normal.”
He’s looking “very normal?” Well, yeah, if normal means he looks like he slept in his clothes, he hasn’t combed his hair, he’s coming off a two-week bender and he wants to kill the person taking the picture.
Poor guy. I don’t think he’s taking his loss all that well.
Mitt Romney on Wednesday:
“I spoke with president Clinton the day before yesterday, he called and spent thirty minutes chatting with me. He said a week out I thought you were going to win. And he said, but the hurricane happened, and it gave the president a chance to be presidential, and to look bipartisan, and you know he got a little more momentum, and of course he also said that when he was watching Ann speak at the Republican convention, he decided he was tempted to join the Republican Party. So he may have just been effusive with generous comments as he chatted.”
Romney held a “grin and spin” (as one person called it (love that}) conference call this afternoon during which he reflected on his election loss:
A week after losing the presidential election to President Obama, Mitt Romney blamed his overwhelming electoral loss on what he said were big “gifts” that the president had bestowed on loyal Democratic constituencies — including young voters, African-Americans and Hispanics.
In a conference call on Wednesday afternoon with his national finance committee, Mr. Romney said that the president had followed the “old playbook” of wooing specific interest groups — “especially the African-American community, the Hispanic community and young people,” Mr. Romney explained — with targeted gifts and initiatives.
“In each case they were very generous in what they gave to those groups,” Mr. Romney said.
“With regards to the young people, for instance, a forgiveness of college loan interest, was a big gift,” he said. “Free contraceptives were very big with young college-aged women. And then, finally, Obamacare also made a difference for them, because as you know, anybody now 26 years of age and younger was now going to be part of their parents’ plan, and that was a big gift to young people. They turned out in large numbers, a larger share in this election even than in 2008.”
Hey, I voted for Obama but I didn’t get one single gift. My husband didn’t either. And none of my friends did.
Seriously, I guess it’s only natural to go into deep denial when you get your butt kicked like Romney did but well, this is just sad.
Oh, and if you go on to read the entire article you’ll see that Romney’s back to calling undocumented immigrants “illegals.” Disgusting.
Remember when Mitt Romney said Tesla was a loser?
What is it with Mitt Romney and Tesla Motors?
First, during the second presidential debate on Oct. 3, the Republican nominee mistakenly lumped the Silicon Valley electric carmaker in with Solyndra, Ener1 and Fisker Automotive as examples of failed investments by the Obama administration in green technology.
Then Monday evening at the third and final presidential debate, Romney again brought up Tesla.
“We’re going to have to have a president, however, that doesn’t think that somehow the government investing in – in car companies like Tesla and – and Fisker, making electric battery cars – this is not research, Mr. President,” Romney said.
Well, fast forward to today:
2013 Motor Trend Car of the Year: Tesla Model SShocking Winner: Proof Positive that America Can Still Make (Great) Things
The 2013 Motor Trend Car of the Year is one of the quickest American four-doors ever built. It drives like a sports car, eager and agile and instantly responsive. But it’s also as smoothly effortless as a Rolls-Royce, can carry almost as much stuff as a Chevy Equinox, and is more efficient than a Toyota Prius. Oh, and it’ll sashay up to the valet at a luxury hotel like a supermodel working a Paris catwalk. By any measure, the Tesla Model S is a truly remarkable automobile, perhaps the most accomplished all-new luxury car since the original Lexus LS 400. That’s why it’s our 2013 Car of the Year.
At its core, the Tesla Model S is simply a damned good car you happen to plug in to refuel.
That the 11 judges unanimously voted the first vehicle designed from the wheels up by a fledgling automaker the 2013 Motor Trend Car of the Year should be cause for celebration. America can still make things. Great things.
Here’s a new site — Pundit Shaming — that’s compiling all the bad election predictions made this past election cycle.
My favorite is Jennifer Rubin of the Washington Post:
“Four years ago the Republican Party was in danger of losing status as a national party, pundits said. It was too white, too southern and too old. The GOP still has a long way to go with minority voters, but after President’s Obama four years in office the Republican presidential ticket is appealing to women, voters in blue state strongholds and independents…
“The race remains close, but Obama has presided over the Democratic Party’s shrinkage demographically, politically and geographically. The only question is whether Romney can capitalize and make it past the 270 electoral vote marker.”
Wow. Delusional. She isn’t drinking the Kool-Aid, she’s chugging it.
Anyway, it’s a fun read. Check it out at the link above.
Here’s a lighthearted look by Carl Hiaasen of the Miami Herald at the dead-serious problem Florida has with its voting system. Basically the state isn’t all that in to democracy:
The bad news is that Florida screwed up another big election.
The good news is that it doesn’t matter this time.
By now, we Floridians have stoically accepted our laughingstock role in the Electoral College. To comedy writers, we’re the gift that keeps on giving. What would Jon Stewart and David Letterman do without us?
We are the Joke State.
And, by a stroke of good fortune, it’s much easier to smile today than it was 12 years ago.
Gov. Rick Scott should send a bushel of oranges to every voter in Ohio as thanks for getting Florida off the hook, and sparing the nation from another Bush v. Gore debacle.[...]
On Wednesday, Floridians awoke to learn that thousands of ballots remained uncounted in Miami-Dade and several other counties. As the sorting process dragged into Thursday, we all began hearing from friends and relatives living in normal places where elections are conducted without scandal or farce.
Whether it was a text, email or phone call, the gist of the inquiry was the same:
What is wrong with your state?
CBS asked me the same question, and all I could say was: “It’s a freak show.”[...]Perhaps that is Florida’s true electoral destiny – to be the comic relief, the perpetual punch line.