Posts Tagged ‘Bouie

04
Jul
13

Rise and Shine: Happy 4th!

President Barack Obama holds a baby while greeting guests during an Independence Day celebration on the South Lawn of the White House, July 4, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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Jamelle Bouie: In the United States, voting rights don’t march forward as much as they ebb and flow. Often, it happens like this: The prospect of short-term political gain leads one of the two parties to make a massive push for democratic participation, which is then countered by the other side, which has an equally large interest in maintaining a smaller electorate of particular people. After North Carolina Democrats won unified control of state government in 2006—thanks to wide dissatisfaction with the Republican Party and high turnout from black voters—they moved to expand voting with same-day registration. Greater participation, they argued, was a good in itself. North Carolina Republicans took control of the legislature in 2010, and in the same vein, promptly moved to restrict voting where it was previously open. In 2011, then-Governor Bev Purdue vetoed a bill that would have required identification for all voters, end same-day registration, restrict early voting, and end voting on the Sunday before an election.

Now, however, Republicans have the governorship as well as a veto-proof majority. And with the Supreme Court’s decision last week—which gutted the Voting Rights Act and ended the pre-clearance requirement for North Carolina, among other states—the GOP has a chance to turn this proposal into law. They aren’t wasting any time.

With the Supreme Court’s decision on the Voting Rights Act—as well as the actions in states like North Carolina—that’s where the fight is now. Are we still a country that’s serious about opening the polls to all of its citizens, or do we believe that voting is for some, and not for others?

More here

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President Barack Obama holds a baby while greeting guests during an Independence Day celebration on the South Lawn of the White House, July 4, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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Washington Post: the Obama administration announced that it would delay the “employer mandate” provision of the Affordable Care Act, which requires businesses of 50 employees or more to provide health insurance or face a penalty. The reason for the delay, as Sarah Kliff reports for The Post, is that the administration has heard “significant concerns from employers about the challenges of implementing it.” As far as policy is concerned, this isn’t a huge blow to the ACA.

Indeed, there’s a case for repealing the employer mandate altogether, given how little it matters to the full scheme of the law. But such an administrative reform is only possible in a settled political environment, where both sides accept the reality of the Affordable Care Act. As it stands, the Republican Party is still committed to repealing every portion of Obamacare, regardless of the costs. Indeed, after news of the delay broke, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor responded on Twitter with a simple declaration. “Rather than simply delaying the pain, we should go ahead and scrap this entire law before any more damage is done.”

More here

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President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama watch from the White House roof as fireworks erupt over the National Mall, July 4, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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Urban Institute: On Tuesday, the Obama administration announced a 1-year delay in the implementation of employer penalties associated with large employers (50 or more workers) who do not offer affordable coverage to their full-time workers (30 or more hours per week). Our prior analyses show these penalties are not the driving force behind the ACA’s coverage expansions. Nor are the penalties a significant source of federal revenue. Contrary to some initial reactions, the employer responsibility requirement is not a critical factor in meeting the goals of the law.

As we have explained elsewhere, there is very little in the ACA that changes the incentives facing employers that already offer coverage to their workers, and fully 96 percent of employers with 50 or more workers already offer today. Competition for labor, the fact that most employees get greater value from the tax exclusion for employer sponsored insurance than they would from exchange-based subsidies, and the introduction of a requirement for individuals to obtain coverage or pay a penalty themselves, are the major factors that will keep the lion’s share of employers continuing to do just what they do today with no requirements in place to do so.

Throughout the development and the implementation of the ACA, there has been more worry than warranted that employers will drop insurance coverage.  The current furor over the delay of the employer penalties appears to be more of the same. With or without the penalties, most people will still get coverage through their employers; the fundamental structure of the law will remain intact.

More here

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A Year Ago Today

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A young girl salutes President Barack Obama as he shakes hands along a ropeline with members of the military and their families during the Fourth of July celebration on the South Lawn of the White House, July 4, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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Coral Davenport: Within hours of President Obama’s sweeping climate speech last week, Republican campaign committees reignited the charge that the president has declared “War on Coal.” They blasted inboxes and airwaves with “War on Coal” talking points, now aimed squarely at Democrats running in Senate and House races in 2014. The “War on Coal campaign” failed to unseat Obama in the 2012 presidential campaign. And despite the potency of the rhetorical attack, it’s unlikely to have much impact on the 2014 races.

Here’s why: As National Journal reported last week, the political power of coal has fundamentally weakened, a shift laid bare by last year’s elections. Between 2008 and 2012, the coal industry nearly quadrupled its political contributions, directing 90 percent of its money towards Republicans. But Obama still won comfortably in the four key swing states that produce the most coal: Virginia, Colorado, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. Thanks to a recent boom in cheap natural gas—which has brought with it a boom in domestic manufacturing—coal is a smaller piece of the economy than it once was. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are only 84,000 people employed in the coal-mining industry—a number that just isn’t enough to make a difference in a national election.

More here

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President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama watch fireworks from the roof of the White House, July 4, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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Texas Tribune: After closing public testimony just after midnight, the House State Affairs Committee voted 8-3, along party lines, to approve House Bill 2. Public testimony was closed before more than 1,000 people who wished to testify on the bill were given the opportunity. Of the 3,543 people who registered a position on the bill, fewer than 100 testified — in nearly equal number for and against the bill —­ before midnight. According to House officials, 2,181 people registered against the bill, while 1,355 registered for the bill.

“The time clock has not run out on this special session, and I do believe the people who come here do have a right to have their voices heard,” state Rep. Sylvester Turner, D-Houston, told the committee. He voted against the bill. People waiting in the committee room called out requests to testify. “My mom died of a back-alley abortion, and I want to testify,” a man called out from the audience. He added that he’d waited more than seven hours.

More here

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Fireworks begin as the Killers perform on the South Lawn of the White House, July 4, 2010, during the Fourth of July celebration. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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Note: The media should stop referring to them as “abortion clinics.” They are “Women’s Health Clinics” which provide a range of healthcare services to women and men alike.

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Tara Culp-Ressler: In addition to criminalizing abortion services after 20 weeks, the other provisions in Texas’ abortion proposals would impose harsh restrictions on abortion providers. By subjecting abortion clinics to new regulations that would force them to make expensive updates to their facilities — unnecessary measures that major medical groups, like the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, oppose — Texas’ bill would force 90 percent of the state’s clinics to close their doors. That would leave just five abortion clinics in the entire Lone Star State, which happens to be the second most populous state in the country.

Texas is 773 miles wide and 790 miles long. The proposed restrictions would wipe out all of the abortion clinics in the western half of the state, leaving just a handful remaining in urban centers. If the measures currently being advanced in the legislature become law, many women living in rural areas will be forced to travel hundreds of miles to get to the nearest clinic — a trek that low-income women, who struggle to take time off work and pay for transportation, aren’t likely to be able to afford. And the real catch? Outside of the debate about abortion access after 20 weeks — even outside of the fight for abortion rights altogether — the “abortion clinics” in question are often providing health services that encompass much more than helping women terminate a pregnancy. Many of them also provide preventative care, family planning counseling, STD testing, and cancer screenings. And they offer those health services to Texans of both genders who are typically uninsured.

Under Texas’ proposed legislation, many clinics that currently offer birth controls and condoms would have to cease those services for some of Texas’ neediest residents. “That is part of the concern that’s getting drowned out in the abortions versus pro-life soundbite,” Texas Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer (D) told ABC News in a recent phone interview.

More here

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President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama pretend to march to music in the Blue Room of the White House, July 4, 2010, before delivering remarks to military families during a Fourth of July celebration. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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Presidential Daily Schedule (All Times Eastern)

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President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will host military heroes and their families for an Independence Day celebration with a barbeque, concert and a view of fireworks on the South Lawn. Staff and their families from throughout the Administration will also attend this event for the concert and fireworks viewing

6:00PM: Pres. Obama will deliver remarks

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President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama watch the fireworks over the National Mall from the roof of the White House, July 4, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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Have A Safe Fireworksstacular Fourth Of July! :D

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06
Jun
12

‘Democrats will emerge from this loss radicalized, not chastened’

Jamelle Bouie (Washington Post):  …. Where the conventional wisdom goes off the rails is in the attempt to draw broad lessons for November, and attribute motives to Wisconsin voters. At this point, there’s little evidence to suggest an easier battle for Republicans in Wisconsin. According to exit polls, Walker won 17 percent of Obama supporters in the state, and overall, last night’s electorate favored the president over Mitt Romney by a significant margin, 52 percent to 43 percent. It’s a smaller margin than 2008, where he won the state by 14 points, but it’s a solid performance, and a sign that — in reality — Wisconsin is less vulnerable than it looks. Indeed, as of last night, President Obama’s Wisconsin effort is in great shape, and conservatives should temper their view of their chances in the state

Of course, this leads to a question; who are these pro-Walker, pro-Obama voters? Simple. For 60 percent of last night’s voters, a recall is only acceptable in cases of offical misconduct. For 10 percent, a recall is never acceptable. It’s not that these voters are pro-Walker, pro-Obama as much as they are pro-Obama, anti-recall. To them, this is a question of stability….

….. As for rank-and-file Democratic voters, particularly liberals, I thought David Frum had the most insightful take:

Democrats interpret Wisconsin not as a battle over wages and benefits, but as an illegitimate attempt to rewrite the rules of politics to their permanent disadvantage. They are confirmed in a view that the Republican party is a force for concentrated wealth, contemptuous of democracy and fair play. Democrats will emerge from this loss radicalized, not chastened.

This is exactly right. More than anything, the GOP is working to destroy the infrastructure of the Democratic Party, and so far — with the assault on public sector unions — it’s been a tremendous success.

Full post here

President Obama departs Joint Base Andrews for San Francisco, June 6

01
Dec
11

catching up

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PolitiFact

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Jamelle Bouie (Prospect): …. If political courage is defined by the willingness to suffer politically for the sake of good public policy, then Affordable Care Act stands as a testament to the president’s political courage.

Which is why I also have no idea what National Journal’s Josh Kraushaar is talking about when he writes the following: “One of President Obama’s political weaknesses in his first term has been that he’s all-too-willing to avoid making tough decisions…..” …. Even if you don’t include the Affordable Care Act – and I don’t see why you wouldn’t – this is demonstrably false….

…. One of the strangest things about the current political moment is the extent to which mainstream pundits routinely act as if crucial moments in the Obama presidency never happened … Chris Matthews demands more ambition from Obama, despite the fact that he ran hard to pass a piece of social legislation that rivals the Great Society programs in size and scope.

It’s one thing for pundits to err in their judgment – it happens to the best of us – it’s something else entirely for them to ignore reality and blame the president for his failure to conform to their magical world.

Full post here

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Steve Benen: Honestly, is there any entity in politics more effective in slamming Mitt Romney than Jon Huntsman’s presidential campaign?

In this new video, Team Huntsman not only draws additional attention to Romney’s awful interview with Fox News, but also fact-checks Romney’s denials about flip-flops.

More here – the video:

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John Avlon (Daily Beast): Mitt Romney’s Campaign Is Becoming a Sinking Ship – New polls show that Newt Gingrich’s surge is hurting Mitt Romney where it counts. The game isn’t over, but time is running out for Mitt to turn it around.

The horses are getting spooked in the Romney camp. His poll numbers are plummeting in state after state, while Newt Gingrich is soaring across the board.

One reflection of the rising tension was an awkward interview with Bret Baier, in which the normally unflappable Mitt Romney got rattled by fair questions. It revealed the irritability of a man accustomed to being in control who’s watching his plans fall apart in public.

Mitt’s aura of inevitability is fading because his strategy is failing.

Full post here

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TPM: There appears to be a very different definition of “small” in the Romney clan.

In an appearance at a Mitt Romney campaign office in Iowa, one of the candidate’s sons, Josh Romney, recalled a cozy Thanksgiving with the family at his parents’ “two-bedroom house, pretty small”.

…. the family spent Thanksgiving in San Diego, where he owns a two-bedroom house that’s reportedly 3,000 square feet and valued at $12 million.

More here

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Joe Klein (Time): …. Romney’s press office has just put out this statement about the President and Israel: (see post) …. The other inaccuracy is the notion that Obama wants Israel to return to its 1967 borders. He doesn’t. He wants the 1967 borders, with mutually agreed upon land swaps, to be the basis for peace negotiations. Somehow, Romney neglects to mention the land swaps.

The fact is, Obama’s policy toward Israel has been in line with that of every US President since Nixon …. The fact is that US-Israeli military and intelligence cooperation, especially when it comes to sabotaging Iran’s nuclear program, has never been greater.

…. It is very much unprecedented for a candidate for President to side with a foreign leader against the American President. But given their warped disrespect for this particular President, it has become disgracefully common among Republicans this year. One would hope that Romney, as one of the few plausible Republican candidates, would eschew such cheesy behavior … would not misrepresent Obama’s positions on foreign policy so gleefully. But, if this race continues to slip away from him, I suspect that’s exactly what we’ll continue to see.

Full post here

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Protect the Vote

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