Friday, January 11, 2013

News Nuggets 1152

DAYLEE PICTURE: A puffin bird sampling some fish in Scotland.  From the Daily Mail of the UK.

A New Obama in No Mood to Compromise (Jacob Weisberg) from the Financial Times [of London] [Free sign-up required]
The author is spot-on with every sentence here.  Read the whole thing! "In recent weeks, however, we have seen the tentative emergence of a quite different second-term Obama: one shorn of his fantasies about compromise, contemptuous of his opponents, and almost eager to stand on principle. Obama II may be no more likely to get more legislation passed than Obama I. Politically, however, he is a bolder and more appealing figure: less the hostage, more the reluctant gunslinger of the classic Western."

Republicans' New Foe: Barack Obama, Guerrilla Warrior (Nina Easton) from CNN Money
"Now congressional Republicans, with a co-joined L on their foreheads and still leaking public support, can look forward to being out-maneuvered in an unwelcome string of upcoming legislative brawls. As President Obama approaches his second inaugural, one thing has become clear: The 2008 peacemaker politician has emerged as a skilled guerrilla warrior."

Karl Rove Accidentally Unmasks the GOP’s Debt Ceiling Ruse (Greg Sargent) from the Washington Post
"The game here is absurdly transparent: You mustn’t claim Republicans are crazy enough to destroy the economy to get their way, because they don’t want to do that at all — but you still must play along with the idea that the need to raise the debt ceiling (which they acknowledge must happen) still somehow gives them leverage to get the cuts they want."

How The Platinum Coin Option Helps the President’s Negotiating Position (Ryan Cooper) from the Washington Monthly
"...hashing out the debate now is critical, to give the president the confidence he needs that the platinum option is a viable one and he won’t be crucified for exercising it, so he can absolutely refuse to negotiate over the debt ceiling. I’d say Team Coin has done quite well in this task so far."
A VERY interesting look at the strategies and possibilities behind the platinum coin discussion.

White House Gun Plan: An End Run Around the NRA from Politico
"President Barack Obama is trying an end run around the NRA — rallying groups as varied as churches, medical organizations, retailers and the Rotary Club to build support for new gun regulations.
It’s an unusual strategy but one the Obama administration has used before: projecting strength on an issue by trying to create the perception that the White House is riding a wave of momentum from the American people."

Washington’s Endless Civil War (Robert Shrum) from the Daily Beast 
"Right-wing legislators can’t believe Obama is still in the White House—and they’re ready to obstruct him at almost any cost."
I think Obama knows this, and he will include this dimension in his political calculations.  It some ways it plays right into the broader democratic strategy for 2014 which is to paint the GOP as the party  of chaos who, in all meaningful respects, can't govern.  In contrast, Obama I think has perfected the art of looking like the most reasonable guy in the room.

Divided House GOP Huddles Next Week to Talk Strategy (Billy House) from National Journal
"It’s called the House GOP’s annual issues “retreat.” But political “war council” might be a better description of what’s ahead when Speaker John Boehner and his rank-and-file Republicans trek next week to Williamsburg, Va., for a private three-day meeting. The conference – coming fresh off the fiscal cliff showdown and an embarrassing-even-if-unsuccessful coup attempt on the speaker – will focus at least partly on healing divisions"

GOP Governors Face Tough Dilemma On Medicaid Expansion from Talking Points Memo
"Rejecting the Medicaid expansion, as many fellow Republican governors from red states have done, would endear them to the conservative base, which detests the Affordable Care Act. But that would deny a huge benefit to their constituents, whose states all voted for President Obama twice."

When It Comes to Worldview, Jack Lew is Obama in Coke-Bottle Glasses (Noam Scheiber) from the New Republic
"Lew has a well-deserved reputation for homing in on the values that lurk behind the numbers. Progressives in and out of government in the late 1990s recall him as one of the key defenders of Medicare and Medicaid from the designs of axe-wielding Republicans. ... he’s been dogged in his insistence that Democrats won’t entertain the tiniest pinprick to these programs unless Republicans put revenue on the table.  ... That, I’d guess, is half the reason Republicans have reservations about him (at least to the extent their reservations are sincere rather than a crass play for leverage). The other half is that Lew is just plain effective.

The 6 Habits of Highly Effective Chiefs of Staff (Matthew Cooper) from the National Journal
"Rahm Emanuel, Dick Cheney and what it takes to do Washington's second-most-powerful job."

Always a Bridesmaid: The People Obama Passes Over for Top Jobs (Rebecca Kaplan) from the National Journal
"They’ve risen to the top echelons of government bureaucracy and burned the midnight oil for President Obama, and as a result, have had their names floated for top administration positions. But by virtue of bad luck or timing, they have never received the ultimate honor. For some top advisors and politicians, the last four years have left them always playing the bridesmaid, never the bride."

Obama Signs Bill, Gets Secret Service Protection for Life from CNN 
"The new law, which passed the House and Senate in December, designates that all former U.S. presidents who served after January 1, 1997, along with their spouses, receive protection from the Secret Service for their entire lifetimes – meaning former President George W. Bush and his wife Laura are also covered. The law also stipulates that children of
presidents receive protection until the age of 16."
I think this is quite appropriate.  You have to wonder about the tenor and quantity of hate mail the Obamas must receive for this to have passed both houses of Congress.

On a happier note:
Inauguration Ceremony To Include Beyonce, Kelly Clarkson And James Taylor from the Huffington Post
"President Barack Obama can expect some sweet serenades at his inauguration ceremony, with hit-makers Beyonce, Kelly Clarkson and James Taylor on tap to perform some of the country's most patriotic songs."

Michele Bachmann Refuses to Pay Iowa Presidential Staffers After 375 Days from the Christian Newswire
"Representative Michele Bachmann (R-MN), former presidential candidate and a leader of the Tea Party Caucus in the House of Representatives in Washington, has yet to pay some of her Iowa presidential campaign staff after one year and in spite of the fact that over $2,000,000* sits in bank accounts at her disposal."
In a backdoor kind of way, this provides some unexpected insight into the Tea Party mentality -- in regard to the debt ceiling.  I've often thought Tea Party voters don't get that raising the debt ceiling is all about paying bills you've already incurred.  It has nothing to do with future borrowing or the federal deficit as is often contended.  Ah, but here we see such insight might make no difference.  If you owe boatloads of money, simply continue to spend and when the bills come due simply tell your creditors where they can get off!  Amazing.

And the Nominees Are... from the Daily Beast
"Seth MacFarlane and Emma Stone announced the 2013 Oscar nominations were announced Thursday morning ... Here is the full list."

China’s Twitter Goes Hollywood (Melinda Liu) from the Daily Beast
A cryptic message from Brad Pitt on China’s version of Twitter set off a firestorm this week. And he’s not the only big star invading the foreign microblog."

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