Tuesday, January 15, 2013

News Nuggets 1154

DAYLEE PICTURE: A black bear in Florida.  From National Geographic.

Obama Dares GOP to Kill the Hostage (Jonathan Chait) from New York Magazine
"So that’s the plan — “do something dramatic” to “get Obama’s attention.” House Republicans have officially adopted the strategic posture of public shooters and unbalanced breakup notes."

'Deadbeat' Nation (Michael Tomasky) from the Daily Beast
"...the phrase "deadbeat nation" is going to have a lot more resonance coming out of Obama's mouth than in Rubio's letter. He has managed to turn the phrase around on the GOP."

Tomasky gets a two-fer today!
Government Shutdown Insanity (Michael Tomasky) from the Daily Beast 
"Do House Republicans actually want to shut down the government? Michael Tomasky fears that is the case."

Dems Hold a Trump Card in Debt Limit Showdown (Greg Sargent) from the Washington Post
"“McConnell’s statements not withstanding, I don’t think Senate Republicans are all that eager to use the debt limit as a hostage this time.”"

Case in point?
Lisa Murkowski: Debt Ceiling Shouldn't Be Used As Leverage from the Huffington Post 
"Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) became the first Republican senator to come out against using the debt ceiling as leverage for spending cuts, contradicting Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and other Republicans who favor such a tactic."
All I can say is "good for you, Senator"!!

How To Lose At American Politics (Ross Douthat) from the New York Times 
"If you can’t tell a persuasive story about how your proposed gambit or maneuver will leverage public opinion against your opponents, then you should strongly consider the possibility that it will actually leave you worse off on policy than before. Which brings us, alas, to Congressional Republicans ... how, exactly, a default or a shutdown would actually prevent the long term accumulation of new debt and “force President Obama to finally to cut spending.” It’s missing because it doesn’t really exist, and it doesn’t exist because of, well, democratic politics."

Douthat looks to this interesting, slightly reality-based column from a deep-red pundit:
How to Prevent Another GOP Debacle (Peter Wehner) from Commentary Magazine 
"Republicans should accept the fact that even though they have a majority in the House, their power to shape the governing agenda is still severely limited. There will be no meaningful reforms of entitlements or the tax code. Accept it; and accept that they cannot undo the damage of Obamaism so long as he remains president."

In contrast, this right-wing pundit exemplifies the wrong-headedness of debt ceiling/gov't shutdown minimizers:
Why a Government Shutdown Would Help the GOP After the Fiscal-Cliff Fiasco, Republicans Have Almost Nothing to Lose (Edward Morrissey) from The Week
"The GOP should forget the ghosts of 1995 and force the showdown over the real issue — out-of-control spending. At this point, after the beating Republicans took in November and the disarray after the New Year's Day fiscal-cliff deal, they don't have much to lose, especially by fighting on the high ground and forcing Democrats to defend inflated spending."
Yes -- go for it!!  Morrissey, like most Republicans, thinks that a gov't shutdown will nicely showcase the problem of deficit spending.  Instead, as it did in 1995, it will showcase the chaos that occurs when the GOP has any influence over the process -- and we will get to hear about all the popular gov't services that will be stopped with a gov't shutdown.  On the heals of the debt ceiling showdown, I completely disagree with Morrissey's "game plan" and how it will land for voters.

Obama Talks Tough on Budget, Guns (Howard Kurtz) from the Daily Beast 
"The president warned Republicans not to balk at raising the debt ceiling and challenged the NRA on gun control. Howard Kurtz on the timing of his news conference."

President Obama Dares Republicans To Breach Debt Limit from Talking Points Memo
"At his final White House press conference of his first term in office, President Obama made clear that the government has no workaround to avoid the consequences of House Republicans failing to raise the debt limit, and in so doing made it clear that a lapse in borrowing authority will result in deep cuts to popular government programs and services, for which the GOP will bear responsibility."

Will Longer School Year Help or Hurt U.S. Students? from the Associated Press via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
"Did your kids moan that winter break was way too short as you got them ready for the first day back in school? They might get their wish of more holiday time off under proposals catching on around the country to lengthen the school year."

The High Price of Being Single in America (Arnold & Campbell) from the Atlantic
"Over a lifetime, unmarried women can pay as much as a million dollars more than their married counterparts for healthcare, taxes, and more."

Southern Discomfort (George Packer) from the New Yorker
"Republicans outside the South have begun to turn pink, following the political tendencies of the country as a whole, but Southern Republicans, who dominate the Party and its congressional leadership, remain deep scarlet. These numbers reveal something more than the character of today’s Republican Party; a larger historical shift is under way."

Obama Willing to Use Executive Orders on Guns from the New York Times 
"President Obama this week will embrace a comprehensive plan to reduce gun violence that will call for major legislation to expand background checks for gun purchases and lay out 19 separate actions the president could take by invoking the power of his office, lawmakers who were briefed on the plan said Monday."

Faulty Hypothesis (Amanda Marcotte) from the American Prospect
"A scientist argues that members of his field should support more Republicans, but ignores why his colleagues fled the party."

The Republican Identity Crisis (Josh Kraushaar) from National Journal 
"From fiscal cliff to disaster spending and Chuck Hagel, big rifts are developing in the GOP. ... the ambition to split the Republican Party asunder is part and parcel of the White House’s second-term game plan—and it’s exposing an unpleasant truth for Republicans. There’s not much ideological unity within the party, even as the GOP is united against Obama’s agenda."

Jon Huntsman Can't Stop Talking About The Republican Party from BuzzFeed 
"In his most recent media tour, the moderate Republican has been preaching a sermon he's preached many times before, first as an ambitious newcomer to the national stage, then as a fledgling presidential candidate, and now as co-chair of the bipartisan advocacy group No Labels. The words may change (slightly), but the message is always the same: Now is the moment for the GOP to cast off its old, outmoded dogmas and reinvent itself for the future.”

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