DAYLEE PICTURE: The Eyjafjallajokull volcano in Iceland. From National Geographic.
UP-FRONT PUNDIT NUGGET!!
Doomsday Conservatives: Too Many Hormones, Too Little Plan (David Frum) from the Daily Beast
"I wrote a short blog post suggesting that this doomsday approach was poorly considered. Thiessen rebutted with a laconic Tweet: "Frum votes for surrender." ... Unfortunately, it's exactly this mode of thinking that has brought the GOP to its present sorry pass. ... Over the past four years, Republicans have suffered from a combination of tactical radicalism joined to strategic nihilism."
We Have To End Republican Nihilism (Andrew Sullivan) from the Daily Beast
"... we should be clear what using the debt ceiling as blackmail really is; it is not an attempt to cut spending, which is accomplished through budget legislation. It is a refusal to make good on the very decisions the Congress has already made on spending and taxation. It is the equivalent of not paying your rent as a way to protest the price you already signed up for. It's grotesquely irresponsible, and after the last election, reflects a near delusional amnesia and contempt for the voters. "
How the GOP Lost National Security (Nikolas K. Gvosdev) from the National Interest
"Republicans abandoned Reagan's optimistic pragmatism for their own brand of idealism. ... No Republican candidate can rely on an automatic pro-Republican "national-security constituency" in future elections."
Democrats Declare Checkmate in Fiscal Cliff Debate (Chris Frates) from National Journal
"In the ongoing fiscal cliff chess match playing out on Capitol Hill, Democrats have a message for Republicans: checkmate. Democrats look at the political landscape and see a win whether a deal gets cut now or after the country goes over the cliff. Worst-case scenario, they say, the House will approve legislation the Senate passed in July extending Bush-era tax cuts for everyone but the rich, an idea that Republican House Speaker John Boehner has flatly rejected."
After 22 Years of Budget Inflexibility, Can the GOP Re-embrace Compromise? (Ronald Brownstein) from National Journal
"The party spent two decades transforming from belt-tighteners to tax-cutters. To win, it may have to go back."
First Thoughts: GOP Goes Off the Image Cliff (Chuck Todd et al.) from MSNBC
"...our new NBC/WSJ poll shows that the Republican Party has already gone off one cliff, per co-pollster Peter Hart (D) -- the image cliff. ... there’s another way to look at the poll: Republicans have a lot to gain, too. And if they want to be a competitive national party again and not simply a regional, rural party, they need to make gains."
As Fiscal Cliff Nears, Democrats Have Public Opinion on Their Side from the Pew Research Center
"The Democrats are in a strong position with the public as they engage in negotiations to find a solution to the fiscal cliff crisis. Barack Obama’s first post-reelection job approval rating has risen to 55%, up five points since July and 11 points since the start of the year. ... The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted Dec. 5-9 among 1,503 adults, finds that the current problems for the GOP run deep."
The Republican Brand Problem (Chris Cillizza and Aaron Blake) from the Washington Post
"One thing comes through loud and clear in the new NBC/Wall Street Journal national poll: Republicans have a major brand problem. Consider the following findings in the NBC/WSJ poll:..."
Jim DeMint: The Fireman Ed of Politics (Matt Taibbi) from Rolling Stone Magazine
"Privately, what you hear on the Hill is more and more complaining that Tea Party extremism of the DeMint type has not only cost Republicans the Senate ... but perhaps the White House as well. ... This is going to get ugly, like Atlanta Housewives-catfight ugly, before all is said and done."
The Best and Worst of the 2012 Campaigns, Part II (Stuart Rothenberg) from Roll Call
" Part II of my guide of the best and worst of the 2012 election cycle features some usual and a few more unusual categories."
Susan Rice Learns What It's Really Like to Be Hillary (Garance Franke-Ruta) from the Atlantic
"Sure, everyone loves Clinton now. But first she had to survive a decade-and-a-half of right wing attacks."
The Democratic Party's Future Now Depends on Hillary Clinton (Conor Friedersdorf) from the Atlantic
"More than any other politician in America, her candidacy would change the contours of the next election."
Hillary 2016! Why Clinton Needs—but Won’t Get—a Break from Public Life (Walter Shapiro) from Yahoo News
"In an interview with the New York Times columnist Gail Collins, Clinton revealed her fantasy for 2013 after she takes her final globe-girdling flight as secretary of state: “I just want to sleep and exercise and travel for fun. And relax. It sounds so ordinary, but I haven’t done it for 20 years. I would like to see whether I can get untired.”"
A Taxonomy of Republican Hopefuls (John Dickerson) from Slate
"Meet the truth teller, the compassionate conservative, the coalition whisperer, and the doer. These are the GOP’s new, would-be leaders."
HOBBIT NEW ZEALAND NUGGET!!
Why Middle Earth is So Precious for New Zealand (Joshua Keating) from Foreign Policy Magazine
"Internationally successful films have long been a great way to get your country on the international cultural map. Exodus gave American audiences of 1960 not just a Jewish Paul Newman but a heroic vision of the founding of Israel. The 1972 cult classic The Harder They Come introduced the world to Jamaican music and Rastafarian culture, making an international star of Jimmy Cliff and paving the way for Bob Marley. But New Zealand's embrace of the Lord of the Rings movies is still pretty unique, particularly given that the movies don't take place in that country -- but in a mythical world of orcs and elves."