Thursday, November 15, 2012

News Nuggets 1108

DAYLEE PICTURE: Penguins on an iceberg in Antarctica.  From National Geographic.

The Final Insult: Mitt Romney’s Clueless Gift Gaffe (John Avlon) from the Daily Beast
"Mitt Romney made his final newsworthy post-election pronouncement, explaining to a conference call of big-dollar donors that he had fallen short because President Barack Obama had bribed liberal special interests with expensive gifts. "
Make no mistake, the country dodged a bullet when it chose Obama over Romney last week.  Yesterday's "gaffe" shows clearly that Romney's "47%" remark during the campaign was no tailored-for-one-audience pander but was a rare moment of candor from a candidate who turned lack-of-candor into a fairly effective campaign strategy. We can only thank our lucky stars that this strategy failed as decisively as it did! George W. Bush could promote himself plausibly as a "compassionate conservative" -- Mitt Romney could never quite make the case.

In this same vein:
Mitt Romney: First As Farce, Then As Farce (Noam Scheiber) from the New Republic
"...if your moral sense is so attenuated you’re able to spout the same vile pabulum even after it’s been thoroughly debunked by the media, even after you went to great rhetorical lengths to distance yourself from it, even after it arguably cost you a presidential election, then it’s safe to say it's what you stand for in every practical and moral sense."

Eurozone Slides Back into Recession (James Fontanella-Khan) from the Financial Times [of London]
"The eurozone fell back into recession for the first time in three years as the deepening sovereign debt crisis in peripheral nations dragged down the core northern economies of the 17-member bloc in the third quarter of 2012."

CIA: We Didn’t Ask for Help During Benghazi Attack (Eli Lake) from the Daily Beast
"The agency’s acting director will tell Congress today that agents on the ground the night Ambassador Chris Stevens was killed never requested military assistance, Eli Lake reports."

Immigration First Up After Inauguration (Fawn Johnson) from the National Journal
"The outline of an immigration deal is already there. It involves a path to citizenship for undocumented workers and tightened restrictions on the border and in the workplace so that it will be harder for illegal
immigrants to live in the United States and find work. Now all that is needed is the coalition that supports it. That’s happening too."

Changing Times on the High Court (Linda Greenhouse) from the New York Times
"When people talked during the presidential campaign about the potential impact of the election on the Supreme Court, most meant the impact on the court’s membership: whether Barack Obama or Mitt Romney would get to fill any vacancies during the next four years. The vote on Nov. 6 settled that question, obviously, but it also raised another tantalizing one: what impact will other developments during this election season, beyond the presidential vote itself, have on the nine justices?"

Why Do So Many Catholics Support Marriage Equality? Blame the Catholic Imagination (Jamie Manson) from the National Catholic Reporter
"Since multiple studies and surveys have confirmed that more Catholics agree with marriage equality than the overall population and history has already demonstrated that Catholics have played a key role in passing same-sex marriage legislation, I've often wondered whether there is a connection behind the Catholic theological tradition and this particular issue."

The Inconvenient Truths of 2012 (E.J. Dionne) from the Washington Post 
"Human nature and politics being what they are, Republicans will underestimate the trouble they’re in and Democrats will be eager to overestimate the strength of their post-2012 position. Begin with the GOP:..."

Notes for Next Time (Ross Douthat) from the New York Times
"Thanks to David Petraeus’s adultery and the so-called “fiscal cliff,” it’s almost possible to forget that there was a presidential election just a week ago. (And God knows the Republicans would like to!) But before the campaign disappears into the haze of social life in Tampa and tax reform proposals in Washington, here are four under-the-radar lessons from President Obama’s successful re-election bid."

Has the Emerging Democratic Majority Emerged? (Jonathan Chait) from New York Magazine
"What is going on is a change, rooted mainly in demographics, that is making the traditional conservative formula obsolete. "
One key side note Chait raises is very important:
"The Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News crunch the numbers and find that Democrats are shaving five and a half percentage points off the GOP’s margin every four years, and the state is poised to turn blue in twelve years. A comprehensive campaign to register Latino voters could hasten that date."
Here's a link to the full Chronicle/Express article.

What Has Movement Conservatism Accomplished in the Last 15 Years? (Conor Friedersdorf) from the Atlantic
"The list isn't nearly as long as its boosters would have us think."

The Party’s Problem (Ramesh Ponnuru) from the National Review
"The first thing conservatives should understand about the electoral catastrophe that just befell us -- and it was a catastrophe -- is that any explanation of it that centers on Mitt Romney is mistaken... Romney was not a drag on the Republican party. The Republican party was a drag on him."

But then there's this item:
Republican Governors Put Blame on Romney (Joe Vardon) from the Columbus Dispatch [of Ohio]
"... the clearest takeaway from the Republican Governors Association’s annual conference yesterday as to why Romney will not be the next president was this: He sowed division among Americans with his “47 percent” remarks."
No doubt about it, David Corn, the columnist at Mother Jones who unearthed that video, will be on the GOP "enemies list" for the rest of his days.

How TV Killed the Republican Party’s Family Values (Jonathan Fitzgerald) from the Daily Beast
"Republicans are searching for an explanation as to why voters rejected their vision of America. The answer may be on their television screens, where an ever-expanding, bluer definition of family values makes their nostalgic idea of family values feel like a foreign world."

Obama's Message, Still Loud and Clear: Taxes for the Wealthy (Jonathan Cohn) from the New Republic
"I’m even more convinced that Obama isn’t treating this political confrontation the way he did the last two, in the winter of 2010 and the summer of 2011. This time, he has leverage over congressional Republicans. And on the question of tax policy, the issue that has sparked the most controversy so far, he is using it."

Obama’s Strategy to Win the Budget Fight (Jonathan Chait) from New York Magazine
"In the days since the election, the outlines of President Obama’s strategy to win a favorable agreement on the deficit have grown fairly clear. All the elements of the plan were on display in his post-election press conference today."

How Liberals Need to Hold Their Anti-Obama Fire (Michael Tomasky) from the Daily Beast
"With Obama out to strike a “grand bargain” with Republicans, liberals need to play politics smarter than they did in 2009 and show that they have the president’s back."

Obama’s Message to GOP is, Ante Up (Ruth Marcus) from the Washington Post 
"The president’s mind-set as the “fiscal cliff” approaches is far feistier. He won reelection in a campaign that centered on higher taxes for the wealthy. Even more, in the White House view, the hazard of cliff-jumping is way less than the danger of ceiling-hitting. So rather than extend the Bush tax cuts for higher-income taxpayers, the president is willing to risk another recession — a move he would blame, and with good reason, on Republican intransigence."

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