President Barack Obama writes a note for Alanah Poullard, 5, while visiting with Wounded Warriors in the East Room during their tour of the White House, Sept. 19, 2013. Alanah asked for a note to show her kindergarten teacher. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Huge thanks again to Zizi for that absolutely wonderful post, completely honored to have it here.
No I’m not talking about the acrid smell of Boehner’s singeing flesh as he roasts in PBO’s Veto threats as well as the bonfire that is Congress. That is subject for another diary. No, I’m talking about PBO’s Foreign Policy chestnuts roasting beautifully.
The Burma Blueprint a Model for Iran Detente
Prez Obama really works best when there’s a melee brewing all around him. And so it was in 2011 when the GOP debt ceiling hostage taking was underway, he moved swiftly to accelerate the diplomatic thaw between the US and Burma. DC was clueless about how that happened and predictably gave PBO very little credit.
“When I took office as President, I sent a message to those governments who ruled by fear: We will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist. So today I’ve come to keep my promise and extend the hand of friendship.”
On This Day: President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama greet the family of Senior Master Sergeant Roland Paramore (not pictured) aboard Air Force One prior to departure en route to New York, Sept. 19, 2011(Pete Souza)
Today (All Times Eastern):
10:45 House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi holds her weekly briefing with members of the press (C-Span)
11:0: The President delivers remarks at a meeting of his Export Council, Eisenhower Executive Office Building
1:0: Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney
4:25: The President attends a DNC event, Capital Hilton Hotel (Closed Press)
For the Republican Party, what began as a tactic — vilification of its opponents — became a habit that became a conviction. Its anger and distrust have become the dominant political fact of our time.
We have a problem with our Republicans. They don’t much want to govern anymore, and we can’t govern without them. This has been a long time coming, but at some point in recent years, America’s Republicans, especially elected officials but also a large part of the rank and file, stopped seeing Democrats and many other Americans as their political opponents and started viewing them instead as the enemy, a nemesis bent on destroying the country.
Certainly a significant factor underlying this phenomenon is white insecurity in a changing world, especially in the old Confederacy, in which the 21st-century Republican party has bunkered itself. But whatever the reason, given the symbiosis between the only two political parties we have allowed ourselves, this extremism endangers the governing arrangement that has held for the last century or so — and by and large worked spectacularly well…
Health-care reform isn’t going anywhere. But that hasn’t stopped Republicans from using it to raise money from gullible Tea Partiers who want it defunded.
House Republican leadership does not want a government shutdown over Obamacare, but the agitation of conservative activists might make one inevitable.
….. Conservatives must know they have nothing to gain politically from taking this stance, which raises the question: why do it? One answer, as suggested by the National Review’s Robert Costa in August, is money. Tea party organizations, he writes, “aren’t worried about the establishment’s ire. In fact, they welcome it. Business has boomed since the push to defund Obamacare caught on. Conservative activists are lighting up social media, donations are pouring in, and e-mail lists are growing.”
The Obama administration is preparing for high-level meetings next week with the Iranian government on its nuclear ambitions and is open to a direct exchange between President Barack Obama and Iran’s new president, Hasan Rouhani, at the United Nations, according to senior U.S. officials.
The recent softening between Washington and Tehran gained new momentum with the release by Iran in recent days of 11 political prisoners, including a prominent human-rights lawyer freed on Wednesday. The releases were seen as a signal to Washington of a desire for better relations on the eve of Mr. Rouhani’s first visit as president to the annual gathering of world leaders at the U.N. General Assembly.
Greg Sargent: If We Get A Debt Ceiling Crisis, It’s Because Republican Voters Want One
If we are going to have a debt ceiling and default crisis — with all of the havoc it may well entail — it may well be because Republican voters want such a crisis, even if it causes serious economic harm. No, really. That’s what a new poll shows. The new Washington Post/ABC News poll on the debt ceiling tells us something remarkable: Among Republicans who believe that not raising the debt ceiling would cause serious harm to the economy, a majority of them wants Congress not to raise it anyway. By contrast, Americans overall see it in the opposite way.
Meanwhile, the poll also finds that 73 percent think not raising the debt limit would “cause serious harm to the U.S. economy,” versus only 22 percent who say it wouldn’t. How to explain the divergence? It turns out it’s largely driven by Republicans. By contrast, among Americans overall who say not raising it would cause serious harm, they tilt in favor of raising it by 54-35. Independents who say not raising it would cause serious harm also tilt in favor of raising it by 58-36.
One of the day’s biggest stories was also one of the day’s most pleasant surprises. The Federal Reserve postponed any retreat from its long-running stimulus campaign Wednesday, saying that it would continue to buy $85 billion a month in bonds to encourage job creation and economic growth. [...]
But let’s not overlook why Bernanke came to this conclusion. There were, of course, multiple factors, but The Hill reported, “The Fed said one of the primary reasons for the decision was the fiscal fight in Washington, which it said is ‘restraining economic growth.’” The political world tends to ignore this for reasons I find endlessly frustrating, but the chairman of the Federal Reserve has repeatedly told Congress, in fairly explicit terms, that Republicans are hurting the economy. Bernanke has drawn direct, unambiguous connections between weak economic growth and the specific policies pursued by Republican lawmakers.
GOP officials ignore Bernanke because he tells them what they don’t want to hear, and many in the media ignore his assessments because Americans aren’t supposed to hear about Republican responsibility for the struggling economy.
Greg Sargent: The Conservative Alternative To ObamaCare Isn’t An Alternative To ObamaCare
So House conservatives are planning to roll out their long awaited alternative to Obamacare, some three years after they first promised to do so — and after more than three dozen votes to repeal it. The conservative alternative wouldn’t do nothing at all.
“Individuals who purchase coverage approved for sale in their state could claim a deduction of $7,500 against their income and payroll taxes, regardless of the cost of the insurance. Families could deduct $20,000.” The trouble with this, Leavitt says, is that deductions disproportionately benefit the rich. By contrast, Levitt notes, Obamacare gives low income folks subsidies in the form of tax credits, which disproportionately benefit the poor.
it’s easier to remember that what we’re hearing on the right is the din of 275 Republicans and thousands of movement conservatives caterwauling at each other. It’s a fascinating story. It’s genuinely newsworthy that John Boehner and company were cowed into giving Ted Cruz and his boosters on the right a vote on the doomed strategy they’ve been demanding. Assuming the defund Obamacare bill passes the House — not a given! — it’ll be extremely revealing to watch Senate Republicans figure out what to do with it, and hear what they say when it inevitably fails.
President Barack Obama and Burmese Opposition Leader Aung San Suu Kyi pet Bo at the conclusion of their meeting in the Oval Office, Sept. 19, 2012. Danny Russel, Senior Director for Asian Affairs, and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton watch at left (Pete Souza)
First Lady Michelle Obama speaks to a crowd of over 6000 at Minges Coliseum on the East Carolina University campus, Sept 19, 2012
First Lady Michelle Obama greets students from the East Durham Children’s Initiative upon arrival at Raleigh-Durham Airport in Morrisville, N.C., Sept. 19, 2012 (Photo by Sonya N. Hebert)