Friday, January 4, 2013

News Nuggets 1145

DAYLEE PICTURE: Charleston, South Carolina's Middleton Place Gardens in 1940.  From National Geographic.

What Harry Reid Did Today at 5:03pm Will Make Your Day (Billy Elliott) from Daily Kos
"Harry Reid, who every day does much more than most people in the news media realize, and definitely accomplishes much more than the news media ever reports, pushed through pages and pages of nominations for President Obama yesterday when everyone was focused on what the House would do on the fiscal cliff vote."

Iran Faces a Rough 2013 (Alireza Nader) from Real Clear World
"The Islamic Republic faces the potential of stronger economic sanctions and even an Israeli and/or U.S. military strike because of its intransigence in complying with U.N. resolutions on its nuclear program. But the world's only modern theocracy also must deal with twin domestic challenges-- deepening malaise among the young and increasing tensions among the political elite. "

Can Republicans Rediscover a Once-Celebrated Foreign Policy Tradition? (Max Fisher) from the Washington Post
"...the global implications of the Republican Party’s foreign policy are unmissable. And it’s not a one-direction phenomenon: Global opinion of the Republican Party, including among nearly every single U.S. ally, tends to be negative. ... As long as Republicans spurn the diplomatic world, the diplomatic world is likely to continue spurning it right back."

Obama Wasn't Rolled. He Won! (John B. Judis) from the New Republic 
"By putting Republicans in a position where, in order to protect tax cuts for the wealthy, they had to risk increasing taxes for everyone by letting the country go over the cliff, Obama and the Democrats robbed them of what has been their defining issue. They are now left with advocating spending cuts, which, as it turns out, are only popular in the abstract."

Dear Liberals: Stop Complaining (Michael Tomasky) from the Daily Beast 
"Obama isn’t Captain Liberal. He’s the president. And liberal pundits who are up in arms about the fiscal-cliff deal seem not to recognize the difference."
It's interesting -- liberals want their presidents to be their ideological/philosophical/political uber-leaders. Unfortunately, Democratic presidents have NEVER been that for the left wing of the party.  Democratic presidents since FDR have fallen (usually) in the middle of whatever the political spectrum looked like during their periods in office.  Left-wing dems might point to LBJ or FDR as examples of
left-leading presidents -- but even THEY were governing from what was the political center in the 1960s and the 1930s respectively.  What's my evidence?  As Robert Caro has noted in his bio of Johnson, LBJ deeply distrusted the most liberal Democrats (Hubert Humphrey [before he was VP] and RFK to name just a few).  He viewed them as hopelessly ineffective dreamers.  In addition, people forget that during LBJ's tenure in office, people on the left (and African Americans and young people especially) became (tragically) deeply disillusioned with the rate and pace of reform and change that was occurring.  It was disillusionment with LBJ that led to the radicalization of SNCC, the emergence of the Weather Underground and other hard-left direct action groups.  People forget that the 1930s was the heyday of the American Communist Party and left-wing leaders (such as FDR's VP Wallace and Eleanor Roosevelt) who wanted to make all the New Deal Programs (the CCC, WPA, PWA, etc.) PERMANENT gov't programs.  If not for WWII, they probably would have become permanent.  Right now, Obama is governing from what is now the political center -- which is what his Democratic predecessors have ALWAYS done.  Above average presidents cleave to the view that they really are there to represent all the people -- not just the most partisan wings of their own party.

Need more evidence?  See this item from the edge of the right-wing alternative universe:
Obama’s Fiscal Cliff Sanity Proves He’s No Secret Agent of Destruction (Michael Medved) from the Daily Beast
"The president may be a big-spending liberal, but his willingness to give ground on taxes should prove that he’s not out to ruin the country. ... If the president really did nurse a deep-seated desire to ruin the free enterprise system (and the Republican Party along with it), he just missed his golden opportunity."
Wow.  On the right, it is actually a headline-grabber when someone asserts that Obama really DOESN'T want to destroy America!  

The House Republicans’ Primal Scream. And Why Their Intransigence Has Become Their Own Worst Enemy (David Weigel) from Slate
"Time and again, Washington is shocked by two incredibly well-known facts about House Republicans. One: They believe all of that stuff they tell their conservative audiences, from the town halls to the Sean Hannity remote feed.  ... Two: Most of these members come from safe districts where the only threats to re-election are primary challenges or death by natural causes."

Dems Bullish on Cliff Deal, Enjoy Turmoil Among GOP Lawmakers (Niall Stanage and Amie Parnes) from The Hill
"“The president has got a great advantage, in that he has a party that is unified behind him,” Democratic strategist Steve Elmendorf said. “The Republicans are all over the map. The House and the Senate are in different places, within the House they are divided, and on the outside you have people from Newt Gingrich to the Club for Growth all saying different things.”"

Dems to Run Against 'Chaos' in '14 from Politico
"Democrats, facing a challenging fight to retake the House of Representatives in 2014, see a promising new line of attack rising out of the fiscal cliff follies: casting the Republican congressional majority as a terminally dysfunctional body that cannot perform the basic functions of government, let alone lead the country through difficult times."

Infighting in GOP Follows Scuttling of Storm-Aid Vote from the Wall Street Journal
"House Speaker John Boehner's surprise move to cancel a vote on a $60 billion package meant to help Northeastern states rebuild after superstorm Sandy set off an explosion of Republican infighting Wednesday that ended only when the speaker agreed to bring the measure to the floor in

Dennis Hastert Warns John Boehner About Leadership After Fiscal Cliff Deal from the Huffington Post 
""Here is the problem. Maybe you can do it once, maybe you can do it twice, but when you start making deals when you have to get Democrats to pass the legislation, you are not in power anymore," Hastert said on Fox News Radio Thursday."

Boehner: No More Mr. Nice Guy (Josh Marshall) from Talking Points Memo 
"Boehner’s new approach seems to be to pass bills without worrying if they have any chance of getting through the Senate or gaining the president’s signature at all. Maybe I’m missing something. But it seems like a pernicious sort of denial which would repackage Boehner’s abject weakness as newfound strength."

Anger Over Fiscal-Cliff Deal Fires Up Tea Party (David Freedlander) from the Daily Beast
"Word had it that the Tea Party was on the decline, but the Republican cave on taxes is galvanizing furious grassroots members, who are vowing to root out recalcitrant GOP lawmakers in 2014—a year they say will make the 2010 wave look like a ripple."
I suspect Obama and the Dems will be happy to hear about this.  The Tea Party will target the GOPers who voted for the fiscal cliff deal both in the House and in the Senate.  I think these Tea Party types do not realize that it is no longer 2010 and that most of the electorate views them as dangerous kooks.  In their furor, they will knock off viable/less extreme GOP lawmakers in primaries and nominate unviable/more extreme candidates -- who will lose in general elections.  It is a pathway for further marginalization for the GOP looking to 2014.

Fiscal Cliff: Republican Primaries Eyed By Conservatives After Deal from Reuters 
"Few challengers have yet come forward. But fiscally conservative activists irate at Republicans who voted to raise some taxes without cutting spending are casting about for opponents to Republicans including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and senators Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Lamar Alexander of Tennessee."

Meet the Large-Animal Vet Who's Gunning for the GOP Establishment (Ben Terris) from the National Journal
"Ted Yoho and his fellow GOP House freshmen promise to make John Boehner’s life even more hellish. Share on facebookShare on twitterShare on emailMore Sharing Services."

A Martian Dream: Here's What the Red Planet Would Look Like With Earth-Like Oceans and Life (Rebecca Rosen) from the Atlantic
"Our planetary neighbor is a dusty, barren land. Here, it's re-imagined as a hospitable, wet globe, a bit like our own home."

Lincoln in Hollywood, from Griffith to Spielberg (Sean Wilentz) from the New Republic
"Lincoln is a remarkable historical rendering, offering a deft, knowledgeable depiction of Lincoln as well as a shrewd handling of the politics of the Civil War and emancipation. But the film’s larger
importance lies elsewhere."

Making Out With Bill, an Office Flirtation and Singing 'You're so Vain to the Mirror': New Film to Reveal Softer Side of Hillary Rodham Clinton in her 20s from the Daily Mail [of the UK]
"She may be going through personal dramas all of her own, but Hillary Clinton's early life could soon be appearing on the Silver Screen. A script about the Secretary of State in her 20s and how she chose her husband over her career has become the talk of Hollywood."

Rust in Peace: Haunting Pictures of the Belgian 'Car Graveyard' Where U.S. Soldiers hid Beautiful Vintage Motors after WWII from the Daily Mail [of the UK]
"They had been stationed in the southern Belgium village of Chatillon. Shipping cars home was too expensive for the soldiers. They hoped to collect them later, but none were ever retrieved."

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