President Obama talks with Lt. Gen. Doug Lute, Deputy Assistant to the President and Coordinator for South Asia, left, and National Security Advisor Tom Donilon in the Oval Office, Nov. 13 (Pete Souza)
10:0 House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi addresses reporters (C-Span)
1:30: President Obama holds a news conference
2:45: President Obama and VP Biden attend a meeting with business leaders
McClatchy: President Obama assured labor unions and liberal organizations Tuesday that he’s firmly committed to letting tax cuts for higher incomes expire as scheduled at the end of the year….
Obama met with the labor and liberal groups for an hour at the White House, his first extended meeting with anyone from outside his administration since he won re-election a week ago. He told them he’s committed to raising taxes on higher incomes as he negotiates with Congress on avoiding the “fiscal cliff” of automatic tax increases when Bush-era tax cuts expire at the end of the year and automatic spending cuts negotiated during last year’s debt crisis kick in.
“President Obama today strongly reiterated his steadfast commitment to ensuring that the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest 2 percent finally end Dec. 31 and to protecting the middle class in the process,” said Justin Ruben, executive director of MoveOn.org….
Dana Milbank: President Obama’s opponents have unwittingly come up with a brilliant plan to avoid the “fiscal cliff.” They want to secede from the union.
If Obama were serious about being a good steward of the nation’s finances, he’d let them.
…. a large number of patriotic Americans, mostly from states won by Mitt Romney last week, have petitioned the White House to let them secede. They should be careful about what they wish for…..
Red states receive, on average, far more from the federal government in expenditures than they pay in taxes. The balance is the opposite in blue states. The secession petitions, therefore, give the opportunity to create what would be, in a fiscal sense, a far more perfect union.
…. would-be rebels from the red states should keep in mind during the coming budget battle that those who are most ardent about cutting government spending tend to come from parts of the country that most rely on it.
Steve Benen: …. In early 2009, Perry was so outraged by Democratic efforts to clean up Republican messes, he pushed the rhetorical envelope much further than he should have. The governor denounced the United States government as “oppressive,” arguing that it was “time to draw the line in the sand and tell Washington that no longer are we going to accept their oppressive hand in the state of Texas.” Soon after, he said he doesn’t want to “dissolve” the union of the United States, “But if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, you know, who knows what might come out of that.”
A month prior, Perry said of Texas, “[W]hen we came into the nation in 1845, we were a republic, we were a stand-alone nation. And one of the deals was, we can leave anytime we want. So we’re kind of thinking about that again.”
Did Perry specifically use the word “secession”? There’s no evidence of that*. But it’s entirely fair to say Perry dabbled in secessionist rhetoric, which in itself should be considered scandalous in the 21st century.
Rick Perry arrives for a campaign stop in Iowa City, August 15
Paul Begala (Daily Beast): I first met Rick Perry in 1985. He was a Democratic freshman state rep, straight off the ranch in Haskell, Texas. He wore his jeans so tight, and, umm, adjusted himself so often that my fellow young legislative aides and I used to call him Crotch. Even among state representatives, even among Texas Aggies (graduates of this cute remedial school we have in Texas), Perry stood out for his modest intellectual gifts. Hell, he got a C in animal breeding. I have goats who got an A in that subject. But lack of brains has never been a hindrance in politics.
… Rick Perry threw his hair in the ring on Saturday. His entrance into the GOP presidential field can be a game changer. Perry can raise money as well as Mitt. He can rally the base as well as Michele Bachmann, and he will say or do anything to win. And in today’s Republican Party, if you want to be the nominee you have to be willing to do some really crazy s–t.
You’d have thought that Mitt Romney was the guy who would do whatever it takes. Like the defendant in a Stalinist show trial, Mitt has renounced everything about his prior life: his positions on gay rights, abortion rights, TARP, gun control, campaign finance, immigration, etc. Abandoning nearly everything you have stood for certainly evinces a desire to win (if not a steely spine).
… Perry told The Daily Beast’s Andrew Romano that Social Security is “a Ponzi scheme,” and that both it and Medicare are unconstitutional… he has already flirted with secession. Secession? Even Jefferson Davis opposed secession when he was a senator from Mississippi. When you’re more open to secession than Jefferson Davis was a century and a half ago, well, you’ve gone pretty far.
…. Perry will claim that Texas leads the nation in jobs created. As a joke currently circulating in the Lone Star State puts it, “Sure, Perry has created thousands of jobs. I’m working three of them.” Texas does in fact lead the nation in minimum-wage jobs and in both the number of people who are uninsured and the percentage of the population that’s uninsured. Under the supposedly antigovernment Perry, government jobs grew at twice the rate of private-sector jobs.
… he presided over the execution of one of his constituents, Cameron Todd Willingham, who was probably innocent. But I’m not sure that’s a liability in today’s Tea Party–obsessed GOP. There’s a legend in Lone Star politics that one of Perry’s Republican rivals in Texas tested the Willingham issue in a focus group. One Republican man, the story goes, squinted and said, “Well, I like that. Takes a lot of balls to execute an innocent man.” At that moment, folks say, Perry’s rival knew opposing him was fruitless.
….he has the most important quality of all: the willingness to do whatever it takes. That’s truer than ever in relation to today’s Tea Party–dominated Republican Party. You’ve gotta be willing to do anything, say anything, accept anything, propose anything, endorse anything, pledge anything. There is nothing too bats–t for these people….
Ed Kilgore (New Republic): …. every one of (Rick Perry’s) supposed strengths turns out to be yoked to a big, potentially damaging weakness.
To begin, Texas’ economy may have done well during most of his ten-year-plus tenure as governor, but it’s done so at the price of very low levels of public services, high rates of poverty, and a long line of sweetheart corporate deals, not all of them successful, between Perry and some of his friends and allies, which could prove to be an opposition researcher’s playground.
Moreover, his budgetary record has also depended on some questionable accounting measures and a willingness to rely on the federal government he purports to loath (stimulus dollars played a big role in propping up the most recent Texas budget).
Second, while Perry has become a Tea Party favorite, he has done so in part by making inflammatory statements that may trouble even a healthy number of Republican primary voters, the most famous of which was his suggestion that secession might be on the table for Texas. In addition, he’s also made threats to withdraw the state from the Medicaid program … and even sought the power to opt Texas out of Social Security….
And finally, Perry is close to the Christian Right, but the fact of the matter is that he hasn’t chosen the most seemly of allies in that camp. As a follow-on to his famous “Pray for Rain” rally in April, he’s now planning an evangelical hoedown in August, called “The Response,” that features a sort of who’s who of radical theocrats, including John Hagee, the Christian Zionist leader whose support John McCain felt constrained to repudiate in 2008 after Hagee called Adolf Hitler an agent of God’s plans to return the Jews to their biblical homeland.
The expressed purpose of the upcoming event is to seek divine intervention to fix America, apparently via the propitiation of an angry God by the abandonment of such abominations as legalized abortion, same-sex relationships, and church-state separation…