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25 Jul 2011 22:02


Politics: Obama speech light on policy, heavy on politics

  • We were planning on live-blogging the President’s primetime speech on the debt ceiling, but there wasn’t much to live-blog about. He didn’t support or reject any new policies, or endorse a specific strategy for raising the debt limit. Rather, the President doubled-down on the importance of avoiding default, reinforced hard distinctions between him and House Republicans, and make slight adjustments to his political positioning. He warned, in his most explicit language yet, of the consequences default would have for average Americans. He came out hard for progressive taxation, hammering the Republicans for refusing to consider raising taxes on the rich, and explicitly asked constituents to call their representatives in Congress and voice support for the White House’s “balanced.” In general, as was the case in his press conference last Friday, the President ended up sounding a whole lot more partisan than normal, but didn’t deliver any game-changers. source

15 Jul 2011 21:53


Politics: Republicans Senator: “We’ve got nobody to blame but ourselves”

  • Maybe the debt ceiling was the wrong place to pick a fight, as it related to trying to get our country’s house in order…maybe that was the wrong place to do it.
  • GOP Senator Bob Corker • In a shockingly frank admission that the Republicans overplayed their obstructionist hand. The phrase “pick a fight” implies antagonism for antagonism’s sake which, if one reflects on the Republican party’s behavior over the last three years, would seem an appropriate implication. Another Senate Republican, Lindsey Graham, had a similar confession: “Our problem is we made a big deal about this for three months…we’ve got nobody to blame but ourselves.” Yes, indeed. These confessions bode well for the prospects of a deal passing the Senate, but the House remains another question entirely. source

13 Jul 2011 22:34


Politics: Talk about drawing a line in the sand

  • I’ve reached my limit. This may bring my presidency down, but I will not yield on this.
  • President Obama • Toward the end of a budget meeting with Republicans. It’s not clear what policy he won’t yield on, but from the texture of the debate thus far, we’re guessing it’s the inclusion of revenue increases in the deal to raise the debt-ceiling.source

15 Jun 2011 16:40


U.S.: North Carolina moving towards axing Planned Parenthood’s funding

  • veto The Republican-controlled House in North Carolina passed a provision attached to their budget which strips Planned Parenthood of all federal and state funding. Democratic Governor Bev Perdue vetoed the budget to avoid the funding being axed.
  • override The North Carolina GOP has voted to override the veto, sending the budget along to the state Senate, which will likely follow suit. This is horrible news for women’s health concerns, as a funding halt would especially limit health care for low-income women. source

02 Jun 2011 01:47


Politics: Republican budget plan falls flat with the public

  • Is it just us, or was Paul Ryan foolish to start using the word “Mediscare” to describe the Democrats’ opposition to his plan? Because when you hear “Mediscare,” you don’t think, “Oh, the Democrats are just trying to scare me. I’m sure the Ryan budget is perfectly innocuous.” No; you think, “Oh no! Someone’s trying to take my Medicare away, and I’m scared!” Anyway, this is a shocking, rare PR victory for the Democrats, so let’s let them cherish it for the ten minutes it’ll take before they inevitably blow it and do something stupid. source

18 May 2011 16:58


Politics: GOP braces for damage from Gingrich remarks

  • Newt tries to stop the bleeding: There’s a problem that Newt Gingrich created in his criticisms of the Paul Ryan budget that goes very far beyond Newt himself — a rapidly approaching torrent of Democratic ads using his words against any Republican opponent who supported or voted for said budget. This stern denouncement is an attempt to blunt that effect, but will it work? Not on Senator Chuck Schumer, at least: “What Newt seems to realize is that it would be impossible to win the White House if they embrace the Ryan plan. If Republicans make endorsing the Ryan plan the standard in the Republican primary, it will make the nominee unelectable.” source

27 Apr 2011 17:38


Politics: Bernanke takes dim view of Congress’ budget deal

  • The cuts that have been made so far don’t seem to us to have very significant consequences for short-term economic activity… so far I’ve not seen any fiscal changes that have really changed our near-term outlook.
  • Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke • Speaking at his press conference today, when asked by a reporter about the package of budget cuts congressional Democrats and Republicans agreed upon. Bernanke’s dim view of the package is very easy to understand, as the size of the cuts were incredibly overstated; taking the long-term value of the package (this year’s savings reportedly only amount to $353 million or so) as $38.5 billion, you’re still talking about chump change as far as the total deficit, estimated over $1.5 trillion, is concerned. Bernanke also said Standard & Poor’s downgrading America’s outlook rating isn’t surprising, because everyone knows the U.S. is on shaky fiscal ground, but that he hopes it will spur more action.  source

14 Apr 2011 15:20


U.S.: House passes shutdown-averting budget deal easily

  • 260-167 the yays over the nays source

14 Apr 2011 13:03


Politics: Report makes GOP’s budget cut deal look a lot lamer

  • $38
    the agreed-upon spending cuts in the budget compromise struck in a shutdown-preventing bipartisan deal late last week
  • $350
    the actual value of the immediate cuts, according to the CBO, since most of the real effect is stretched over future years source
  • » So, what the hell can John Boehner do now? This recent analysis, if it’s both correct and widely disseminated, could have huge implications for the GOP going forward. Since becoming Speaker of the House, the contortions Boehner has made to try to appease the Tea Party contingent have been obvious and striking — it’s clear that his fiscal conservatism is less their sort and more that of establishment Republicanism, by which I mean he doesn’t really care about spending cuts in any significant measure. The $38 billion figure itself was but a minute fraction of the federal deficit, and Boehner looks really ineffective after if these numbers stick. Will the Republican and Tea Party marriage begin to splinter over news like this?

13 Apr 2011 16:59


Politics: Surprisingly defiant tone for Obama in budget speech

  • So… how y’all feel about that speech? Reviews streaming in following President Obama’s remarks about U.S. budgetary issues are somewhat mixed, but that’s what you’d expect when the speech in question struck such a starkly firm, at times defiant tone. Indeed, the favorite words of the administration, like “bipartisanship,” “compromise,” and “common ground” were all there, but there was also a lot of base-feeding red meat to his pitch that likely inflamed conservative orthodoxy and left liberals feeling better than they had expected.
  • The Paul Ryan Plan President Obama flatly and sternly dismissed Rep. Ryan’s “Path to Prosperity,” stating the plan would “end Medicare as we know it,” has a “deeply pessimistic” vision for America, and there’s “nothing courageous about asking for sacrifice from those who can least afford it and don’t have any clout on Capitol Hill.”
  • The Tax Man plan? The crux of the President’s rebuttal is that taxes on our highest income earners not only must go up, but that they should go up — a marked departure from more moderate rhetoric he’s used in the past years, likely due to the opposition’s success in injecting the word “socialism” into the debate. source