Final Tally Shows Obama First Since ’56 to Win 51% Twice (Greg Giroux) from the Bloomberg News Service
"Barack Obama is the first president in more than five decades to win at least 51 percent of the national popular vote twice, according to a revised vote count in New York eight weeks after the Nov. 6 election."
'Fiscal Cliff' Fracas: From Smiles to Distrust to Rancor (Richard Cowan and Thomas Ferraro) from Reuters
"They said he warned that if he did not get an agreement to his liking, he would spend the next four years "campaigning against House Republicans," starting with his second-term inauguration speech on Jan. 21. As far as the Republicans were concerned, Obama had effectively remained in campaign mode after his Nov. 6 re-election, going on the attack in his "fiscal cliff" speeches."
In other words, he was politicking the way the GOP has since before Obama took office in 2009. Bad. Wrong. No -- after four years of dealing with Boehner and his clownish colleagues, Obama doesn't trust the House leadership at all -- and those folks and their buddies in the Senate have earned that distrust. They placed defeating Obama as their highest priority item (above economic recovery, emergency aid, everything) from 2009 to 2012. ALL of their legislating (to the extent that it occurred at all) was built around defeating Obama. Well, I could be wrong but I suspect that Obama has now dropped any pretense at playing nice with the GOP: one of his highest priorities now is to drop kick the Tea Party Republicans and their allies on the hard right onto the trash heap of history. Don't look for Obama to let up on his campaigning. He has way more credibility with the American people than any of them do. I now see a President Obama who views House Republicans as a national threat -- and I doubt if he will let up anytime soon.
Nancy Pelosi: My Support For Social Security Cut 'Was Really To Call The Bluff' Of Republicans from the Huffington Post
"House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) upset progressives last month when, amid the fiscal cliff debate, she said she backed the idea of cutting Social Security benefits by changing the way inflation is calculated for recipients. But now Pelosi says she was bluffing, at least in part, to see how far Republicans would go in compromising on a deal."
WHO CALLED IT!? I knew the Dems were not serious when these cuts were put on the table. They knew the GOP wouldn't take them up on it.
Boehner to GOP: Public is Behind Us on Spending, Debt Limit Fight (Russell Berman) from The Hill
"The Speaker cited a new poll conducted just before the New Year by the Winston Group, a Republican firm, which found that 72 percent of respondents “agree any increase in the nation's debt limit must be accompanied by spending cuts and reforms of a greater amount.”"
Most average people have no idea what they are talking about when it comes to the debt ceiling. This poll not withstanding, I think there is little appetite for a drawn-out, economy-threatening repeat of the fiscal cliff debacle. And here again, if we go off this next clif, the GOP will be blamed.
GOP's Obstructionism is Suicide Strategy (Michael Wolraich) from CNN
"If I give you money every day, I'll go out of business. Plus, you're scaring away the customers." "I tell you what," replies the bomber, "Gimme the money, and I won't come back until the day after tomorrow." Welcome to the art of negotiation, Republican style."
What to Expect from the 113th Congress (Jonathan Bernstein) from the Washington Post
"I’m slightly more optimistic than many others about the prospects for compromise with the White House — and even legislative action. A look at the history explains why. ..."
John Boehner's Hapless Tea Party Opposition (Joshua Green) from Businessweek
"Here’s where things went truly, hilariously awry. Any good coup depends on stealth. But on Thursday, an enterprising Politico photographer snapped Rep. Tim Huelskamp sitting in open session reading from his iPad — not making this up — the entire roster of the plot against Boehner."
Need an example of hapless? Check this out -- the political geniuses on the hard right:
Club for Growth Will Punish Members Voting for Sandy Flood Aid (Erik Wasson) from The Hill
"The conservative Club for Growth said Friday that it will punish House members who voted for a flood insurance measure aimed at helping pay for Hurricane Sandy’s damage."
ANY challenger looking to use this vote against a sitting representative needs to have their head examined! Chris Christie got this treatment and, guess what? He will walk to victory in his reelection bid. Moreover, what kind of strategy are you pursuing if the fusillades against it are coming mostly from members of your own party [see Christie and Rep. Peter King's statements]!? Too savvy for me I guess.
Newt Gingrich: Debt Ceiling Is A 'Dead Loser' from the Huffington Post
"Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) warned House Republicans not to hold the debt ceiling for political leverage Friday, contradicting Republicans who have strongly hinted at their plans to do just that. "They’ve got to find, in the House, a totally new strategy,” he said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe."
Harry Reid Would Back Obama If He Bucks GOP On Debt Ceiling: Source (Ryan Grim) from the Huffington Post
"The simplest escape route out of the debt ceiling impasse is for the president to direct the Treasury to find a legal way to pay its debts. The Treasury then has a variety of options. One gaining particular attention relies on a law that allows the Treasury to mint a coin of unspecified value and deposit it with the Federal Reserve. Those funds could then be used legally to pay debts. "Reid has not dismissed any option," said the source close to Reid."
I find this whole idea to be pretty far fetched. And yet, I think it never would have occurred to our founding fathers (who worked DESPERATELY for years to establish the "full faith and credit" of the US) that some future House caucus would threaten to piss it away in a moment of partisan pique!
Obama's Second Chances (Akil Reed Ahmar) from the Atlantic
"Presidential encores have a reputation for being rocky. But there have been exceptions—and Obama’s new term could be one of them."
What Does It Even Mean to Be a Republican These Days? (Jill Lawrence) from the National Journal
"They're talking about immigration reform and gay rights, and voting to raise taxes. Now's the time for conservatives to rebrand their party."
Tea Party Wants to Take Down McConnell in 2014 from Americablog
"The Tea Party has been following the entrism strategy of Leon Trotsky from the start. Having already forced the GOP establishment to adopt Tea Party policy and strategy, it is now time to liquidate the old leadership and finish their takeover of the Republican party. Putting up a primary challenge against the old guard serves a double function. It opens up leadership slots for Tea Party sympathizers, and it puts GOP members of congress on notice that refusal to follow the Tea Party whip will be punished by political death."
Ah -- but they eventually do have to win general elections, even in a state like Kentucky. Ah, but until then, as they used to say in soviet times, ALL POWER TO THE MACAROONS! ... or the marzapans ... or the tea cakes! These, the latest heirs to Trotsky, will carry on!!
Inside the Conservative Debate About Why Mitt Romney Lost (Conor Friedersdorf) from the Atlantic
"A symposium in Commentary magazine illuminates the deep, ongoing disagreements about the last presidential election."
Here's the whole issue of Commentary.
GHOST TOWN NUGGET!!
The Ghost Towns of Nevada: Stunning Photographs Capture the Eerie Remains of Once-Prosperous Frontier Communities (PHOTOS) from the Daily Mail [of the UK]
"A new collection of photos compiled by Buzzfeed give a glimpse into the hubs of activity that they used to be, but clearly are no longer."
Thunderbird 2 Flies Again: The Astonishing Airship Set to Revolutionise Haulage, Tourism... and Warfare from the Daily Mail [of the UK]
"The Aeroscraft can carry three times more than the biggest military cargo planes over thousands of miles. Heavily backed by the U.S. military, it is now at the prototype stage and is set for its first test flight. It is capable of vertical take off and landing and doesn't even need a landing strip."