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27 Feb 2012 15:20


Politics: Reports: In boon to Democrats, Bob Kerrey will seek old Senate seat after all

  • Bob’s Back: After previously saying he’d sit 2012 out, it looks like former Democratic Senator Bob Kerrey will run for his old Nebraska Senate seat after all (it’s currently held by Democrat Ben Nelson, who’s retiring). Kerrey’s decision to run is significant, as Republicans would almost certainly take the seat if he opted out, due to a rather weak Democratic bench in the Cornhusker State. However, Kerrey is generally regarded as a strong candidate, and his candidacy is perhaps Democrats’ best shot at retaining control of the seat . In an election year when Democrats have to defend 23 Senate seats, versus only 10 for Republicans, every little bit counts. [Author’s note: Apologies for using the word “seat” so many times in this article]. source

29 Jan 2012 12:17


U.S.: GOP: We’ll make this payroll tax cut extension work, we swear

  • There is broad agreement on doing the payroll tax holiday through the end of the year … The problem is paying for it. … (Democrats) just don’t want to cut any spending. That is what made it problematic. But we will get it done. We will get it done before the end of February.
  • Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell • Emphasizing that the payroll tax cuts that proved a thorn in the GOP’s side back around Christmas will get extended through the new year, no matter how many arms McConnell has to twist. The thing is, though, he’s not the guy who has to do the hard work. It’s Boehner in the House, who pissed off his rightward-leaning members by ignoring their wishes to score a deal. However, even Boehner is confident: “I’m confident that we’ll be able to resolve this fairly quickly,” he said. The tax cuts expire at the end of February, but there’s no word on how they plan to pay for this. source

18 Sep 2011 10:29


Politics: Paul Ryan: Obama’s “Buffett Rule” equivalent to “class warfare”

  • Class warfare … may make for really good politics, but it makes for rotten economics.
  • Rep. Paul Ryan • Coming out, guns blazing, against Obama’s plan to raise the tax rate for the super-rich. Ryan, speaking on “Fox News Sunday,”also claimed that the tax would be in effect a “double tax” on investments, and would discourage investors from putting their money into the economy. “If you tax something more, you get less of it,” Ryan said. “If you tax job creators more, you get less job creation. If you tax their investment more, you get less investment.” Mitch McConnell, speaking on “Meet the Press,” had similar concerns about the “Buffett Rule,” which we found out about last night. source

13 Sep 2011 14:50


Politics: GOP begins rhetorical push-back on Obama jobs bill

  • What the president’s proposed so far is not serious. And it’s not a jobs plan.
  • Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell • Ramping up his criticism of President Obama’s jobs bill. The plan’s starting point is, as many of the President’s negotiating postures throughout his term have been, pretty generous; more than 50% of its value goes to tax cuts, ostensibly a cherished Republican ideal. Obama’s tact in discussing the bill has been unique from past initiatives, too – whereas on health care and financial reform he deliberately distanced himself from the process, deferring to congress, he’s said in no uncertain terms that this is his plan, and he wants it passed swiftly. Faced with a more assertive adversary, the GOP seems happy to stick to the playbook, and why not? It’s been very successful for them so far, if at the risk of looking obstinate. source

21 Jul 2011 13:57


Politics: Obama and Boehner near deal? Not if you ask their press folks about it

  • claim The New York Times has an article up saying that Obama and Boehner are nearing a deal on the whole debt ceiling mess that’s gripped DC for the past few weeks. Oh God, let’s hope so guys.
  • denial However, Boehner’s folks denied this. “While we are keeping the lines of communication open,” said spokesperson Kevin Smith, “there is no ‘deal’ and no progress to report.” O RLY?
  • denial Likewise, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney (who recently called Mitch McConnell “Mitch Mitchell,” then dropped a Guided by Voices reference) flatly denied the claim. source

19 Jul 2011 01:50


Politics: The Best Two Sentences of the Night

  • Responsibility without conviction is weak, but it is sane. Conviction without responsibility, in the current incarnation of the Republican Party, is raving mad.
  • George Packer • On how each party is handling the (possible) debt ceiling increase. source

18 Jul 2011 23:38


Politics: Cantankerous Corker Criticizes Colleagues

  • Basically, most Senators in this body are nothing but two-bit pawns…to lay out the groundwork, if you will, for 2012 election.
  • GOP Senator Bob Corker • Saying what everyone knows but rarely acknowledges: If a presidential election wasn’t lurking around the corner, this whole debt ceiling debate would be playing out much differently. This is really harsh language for a senator, especially when used in reference to his colleagues. Last week, Corker accepted blame, on behalf of the Republican party, for bringing our country to the brink of another economic collapse. source

12 Jul 2011 18:51


Politics: Rundown of Mitch McConnell’s proposed debt limit failsafe

  • Mitch McConnell knows what he wants. That’s a very critical thing to remember when examining his new debt limit proposal, which would essentially transfer the power to raise the limit from the congress to President Obama. This may seem innocuous, but is a very political decision; forcing Obama to be the sole person taking an affirmative action to raise the limit, then giving congress a vote of “disapproval” that he’d likely have to veto feeds into the narrative of fiscal irresponsibility the GOP craves. The plan would also force Obama to re-up the limit three separate times before the 2012 election, which is theoretically a big political price to pay. Add in that the increase has to be paired with at least an equivalent amount of spending cuts, and what you see is less the grand compromise than what the GOP has wanted all along — spending cuts and no new revenues.

Some context to keep in mind:

  • The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.
  • Mitch McConnell, speaking to the National Journal back in October • Offering a key thought on his mindset. Now, to be sure, it’ll be good news if the debt limit is raised, even in an otherwise frustrating context. However, it’s good to keep this in mind the next time you think Mitch McConnell is actually working in a bipartisan fashion. We take him at his word on this. source

12 Jul 2011 11:27


Politics: Debt ceiling drama: McConnell, Boehner muddy the waters

  • In my view the President has presented us with three choices. Smoke and mirrors, tax hikes, or default. Republicans choose none of the above. I had hoped to do good; but I refuse to do harm.
  • Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell • Speaking before another debt ceiling chat with Obama, while doing what he does best: Clouding the waters. Remember the 1980s, where deals like these could be brokered without dudes like McConnell saying things to scare the base into thinking the Democrats were pure, concentrated evil? John Boehner, who we respect a lot more, had harsh but more moderated words: “This debt limit increase is his problem. I think it’s time for him to lead by putting his plan on the table, something that the Congress can pass.” It’s either Obama being a completely evil human being or Obama not coming up with a deal that can actually pass Congress. Choose your boogeyman, guys. source

10 Jul 2011 12:08


Politics: Debt-reduction plan: The GOP wants the smaller deal. Wait, what?

  • biggish Republicans appear ready to agree to a $2.4 trillion debt-cutting agreement to allow the debt ceiling to go up, and to help prevent the country from defaulting on its loans. It’s something that Republicans have been fighting towards for a while. So what’s this drama we’re hearing about Boehner backing down last night?
  • bigger However, Obama’s eyeing a different deal — a much-larger $4 trillion one, which (over the next decade) would increase taxes for the top-fifth of incomes by cutting back tax credits and deductions — but in the process, trimming the debt significantly. Is it us, or does Obama seem more serious about fixing this issue? source