Median Electoral Vote Estimator by Princeton's Sam Wang indicates Ro-Mentum stalled out 3 weeks ago
It’s already starting: The Romney camp, as well as surrogates like Haley Barbour and Karl Rove, are pushing the excuse for Romney’s loss on Hurricane Sandy, which they claim stalled out the otherwise-unstoppable Mittmentum.
How can you tell when an idea is really popular across the political spectrum? When both the Democratic and Republican candidates for president feel they must give it at least lip service in order to attract voters. So it is with the idea that rich people should pay taxes.
“You can’t reduce the deficit unless you take a balanced approach that says, ‘We’ve got to make government leaner and more efficient,’” the president told CBS’s Scott Pelley. “But we’ve also got to ask people –like me or Gov. Romney, who have done better than anybody else over the course of the last decade, and whose taxes are just about lower than they’ve been in the last 50 years – to do a little bit more.”
Obama said he would be willing to make “some adjustments to Medicare and Medicaid that would strengthen the programs.” “The way to do that is to keep health care costs low. It’s not to ‘voucherize’ programs so that suddenly seniors are the ones who are finding their expenses much higher.”
That was a reference to Mitt Romney and running mate Paul Ryan. The Republicans have proposed a plan that would transform Medicare by giving the elderly voucher-style payments they could use to purchase health insurance. They say it would rein in runaway health care costs. But Democrats — and the impartial Congressional Budget Office — say it would eventually shift much of the burden of health care costs to the elderly.
Even as Romney’s surrogates responded with a blistering reply, Romney himself was stating something that would have been unthinkable for him as recently as a month ago — namely, the notion that rich people should pay taxes:
Mitt Romney rejected claims by President Barack Obama that he would sign off on more tax breaks for the wealthy if elected president, but again declined to offer specifics on how exactly he would accomplish his goal of lowering taxes for other Americans while also balancing the budget.
In an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Romney said he would offset his proposed 20 percent tax cut for all Americans by eliminating loopholes and deductions for high-income earners. He argued that his plan would in effect lower taxes for middle class Americans while keeping tax rates the same for wealthy Americans.
“People at the high end, high income taxpayers, are going to have fewer deductions and exemptions. Those numbers are going to come down. Otherwise they’d get a tax break,” Romney told NBC. “And I want to make sure people understand, despite what the Democrats said at their convention, I am not reducing taxes on high income taxpayers.”
This tells me two things: First, that Romney knows he can’t win from the Republican base alone. Second, that making rich people pay taxes is so universally popular that Romney feels he must blow off a huge chunk of his base in order to chase general-elections voters who like the idea of the rich paying taxes. Hoocouldanode?
Governing parties backing EU-mandated austerity in Greece are on course for a major drubbing as hard-hit voters, venting their fury in elections, defected in droves, according to exit polls.
In a major upset that will not be welcomed by the crisis-plagued country’s eurozone partners, the two forces that had agreed to enact unpopular belt-tightening in return for rescue funds appeared headed for a beating, with none being able to form a government.
After nearly 40 years of dominating the Greek political scene, the centre-right New Democracy and socialist Pasok saw support drop dramatically in favour of parties that had virulently opposed the tough austerity dictated by international creditors.
“That agreement now belongs to the past. It has been delegitimised,” said Panaghiotis Lafazanis, a prominent Syriza MP. “Our strong showing sends a message especially to Europe that Greeks have rejected austerity.”
Jonathan Chait is a typical Beltway-minded Very Serious Thinker, which means that in his crafting of an apologia for yet another cave-in by Obama to corporate America’s well-heeled (and campaign-contributing) titans, he likes to a) assume that Obama’s most prominent lefty critics have no idea how politics works in America when in fact they understand it better than he ever will, and b) play fast and loose with the truth. To that end, he’s come forth with a kinder, gentler sort of hippie-punching, but in essence all he’s doing is the graduate-level version of the “Paul Krugman is a political rookie” post of Deaniac83′s so lovingly spammed by OFA New Mexico head Ray Sandoval. Deaniac83′s veal-penner post was rightly mocked even by Beltway Villagers — as is fitting for anyone who thinks or says that a guy who’s given advice to both Republican and Democratic presidents over the past thirty years is a “political rookie” — but since Chait’s a much more mannered and clubbable sort of fellow, who knows all the secret handshakes and such, his piece will get a free pass from his Villager kith and kin.
Steve King’s for it now, but was against it in 2008 (see YouTube above). The difference? Currently, a black man who ran as a Democrat occupies the Oval Office — whereas in 2008, the very white WASP-y scion of America’s most powerful Republican political family was in the Oval Office.
Yuan Gangming, a researcher with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, a government think tank, smelled some political wrangling behind the U.S. debt debate as the 2012 presidential election draws nearer and said Republicans “want to make things difficult for Obama.”
But with time running short before the U.S. Treasury exhausts its borrowing room, Yuan said default was a real risk.
“The possibility is quite high to see a default of the U.S. debt, which would harm many countries in the world, and China in particular,” he said.
Have the Republicans totally forgotten that Kirk did this — and most of them approved? Do they think the Chinese are stupid? Now the Chinese are learning that it’s the Republicans whose word they shouldn’t be trusting when it comes to money.
By the way, why aren’t there any quotes in here from the anti-debt bond vigilantes and the Pete Peterson crowd talking about how a brief default will be totally worth it if it leads to less debt in the long run? I mean, isn’t that who the Republicans are doing this for?
In February e-mail messages from the Office of Management and Budget, agencies were told their statements to Congress “should not state or imply what functions would or would not be continued in the event of a funding gap,” USA Today reported.
The message continued: “Agencies should not be previewing shutdown plans – that is, policy and operational decisions – in any way.”
Agencies have been instructed to clear any responses to questions about their shutdown plans with OMB.
What could be the rationale for this? Is Obama trying to pre-empt Republican claims that he’s politicizing the crisis and poisoning the negotiations? If so, that’s stupid — they’re going to claim he’s politicizing things anyway. We’re talking about people who habitually call our first de facto Republican black president a “Socialist”.
P.J. Crowley is abruptly stepping down as State Department spokesman under pressure from the White House, according to senior officials familiar with the matter, because of controversial comments he made about the Bradley Manning case.
Crowley will step down as early as Sunday afternoon, the officials said, because White House officials are furious about his suggestion that the Obama administration is mistreating Manning, the Army private who is being held in solitary confinement in Quantico, Virginia, under suspicion that he leaked highly classified State Department cables to the website Wikileaks.
Speaking to a small group at MIT last week, Crowley was asked about allegations that Manning is being tortured and kicked up a firestorm by answering that what is being done to Manning by Defense Department officials “is ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid.”
Geez, a new Saturday Night Massacre! How fricking Nixonian can you get? What’s next, secretly bombing Cambodia?
Bear in mind, Crowley was saying this as someone who thinks Manning should be held and put on trial for whistleblowing — erm, leaking. But he has the brains and morality to realize that if getting actual information out of Manning is a goal, torturing PFC Manning is not how you go about achieving that goal.
Surprise, surprise. The big-business-worshipping Blue Dogs, they who got slaughtered in the midterms last week, are (along with Big Media allies like the ever-reliable Lawrence O’Donnell) trying to push the myth that they lost big, not because they pressured Obama to go with a stimulus package that every economist worthy of the name said was too small to truly heal the economy quickly, but because of (get this) Nancy Pelosi.
CNN’s Candy Crowley recited Blue Dog doofus Jason Altmire’s “that San Francisco gay-lover Pelosi lost middle America!” spiel to the DCCC’s Chris Van Hollen this morning, no doubt expecting him to cower before the Blue Dogs as DC pols are wont to do. But this time at least, Van Hollen is willing to tell the Blue Dogs to get real — that this election was a referendum on the economy first and foremost, and that the Republicans once again are forced to take at least partial ownership of the failure if the economy (which as he points out was initially wrecked by the policies of a Republican president and Congress) if it doesn’t improve in another two years.
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