Charles Pierce: …. the senior members of the Republican party reminded us today that, no matter how much lipstick they slather on the pig in order to fool the more credulous members of the courtier media, the heart of their party is still black and withered and smells of death and corruption.
…. This is what prevails when you scratch down beneath the pretty surface — a party so completely fking unhinged that it thinks that a treaty on the rights of disabled people is some sort of one-world plot to steal the liberty of a third-rate moron like Jim Inhofe. …. They simply do not care. Their prejudices and their paranoia must have pride of place over any help to be given to the less fortunate among us….
…. I can hardly wait for the next Beltway hummer in which Rubio is promoted as “the changing face of the Republican party.” They can’t stand up to the lunatic base because the lunatic base is all they have.
Steve Benen: Former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole made a rare Senate appearance this morning, sitting in a wheelchair just off the floor so that members would have to see him as they entered the chamber. Why? Because they were poised to vote on ratification of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities, and Dole hoped to send a message.
It didn’t work. The Senate killed the treaty this afternoon, with a final vote of 61 to 38, which seems like a lopsided majority, but which fell short of the two-thirds necessary for ratification. Eight Republicans broke ranks and joined Democrats in support of the treaty, but the clear majority of the Senate GOP voted to block it.
Charles Pierce: “Mike Huckabee …. the de-bloated god-bothering whackaloon who is occasionally mistaken for a nice guy.”
Bob Costas responds to Fox News attacks: “Sometimes The Quality Of The Thinking Of Those Who Oppose You Speaks For Itself.” (See video at Media Matters)
…. Romney campaign manager Matt Rhoades said as soon as Ryan and Romney started campaigning together, during his daily calls with Romney “it was like talking to your buddy who just met a girl and is giddy.” Romney pollster Neil Newhouse said when he saw the chemistry of Ryan and Romney together, he thought, “it was like a bromance.” (Lynn Sweet)
A red ribbon is hung from the North Portico of the White House, Nov. 30, to mark World AIDS Day on Dec. 1. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)
Michael Grunwald (Time): It’s really amazing to see political reporters dutifully passing along Republican complaints that President Obama’s opening offer in the fiscal cliff talks is just a recycled version of his old plan, when those same reporters spent the last year dutifully passing along Republican complaints that Obama had no plan….
This isn’t just cognitive dissonance. It’s irresponsible reporting. Mainstream media outlets don’t want to look partisan, so they ignore the BS hidden in plain sight, the hypocrisy and dishonesty that defines the modern Republican Party…..
…. we’re not supposed to be stenographers. As long as the media let an entire political party invent a new reality every day, it will keep on doing it. Every day.
David Firestone (NYT): Republicans reportedly laughed when they saw the Obama administration’s initial offer in the fiscal negotiations yesterday. The idea that President Obama might actually want to enact his campaign promises – tax hikes on the rich, modest Medicare cuts, investments in infrastructure – is apparently considered a joke to the party that has shown virtually no flexibility in the last four years.
But some of that laughter may contain nervousness, because there is more going on here than just a pathway to splitting the difference. The White House made clear yesterday that it is approaching these talks from a position of responsibility, and that it actually takes seriously the notion of old-fashioned bargaining. That’s something Republicans have refused to do — and now they realize they’ve been called out.
Deaniac (The People’s View): The president is in a fighting mood. Starting today, he’s barnstorming the country, getting the American people to pressure Congress to extend the middle class tax breaks, and to do so now. Yesterday, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner presented the leaders of Congress with the Administration’s opening offer. That offer is heavy on revenue, tax fairness, and Medicare savings without affecting benefits. Here’s a short summary of what the president has proposed, from leaked details.
Liberal Librarian (The People’s View): Yesterday’s vote in the UN on Palestine has stirred a lot of emotions on the left; I’ve taken the time to read the responses across a few blogs this morning, and for the most part they’ve been considered and judicious. So here are my two pfennigs.
When the world’s three most powerful faiths declare a piece of real estate “holy”, that causes problems of a sort not found anywhere else. To the Jews, it is the “Promised Land”, vouchsafed to them by God unto the last generation. To Muslims, it’s holy because God walked in it with the Hebrew patriarchs, whom they consider earlier prophets; and, of course, they believe Muhammad made his Night Journey to heaven from the Temple Mount. To Christians, obviously, it was the land where Jesus lived, preached, and died. The deep emotional and religious attachments are not to be disregarded.
Kevin Drum (Mother Jones): There’s one particular strain of Republican reaction to their election loss that’s always given me the biggest chuckle, and today Paul Waldman highlights it: the absurd proposition that Mitt Romney never forthrightly defended conservative principles….
…. For months, conservatives yelled from the rooftops about how 2012 presented the sharpest choice ever in governing philosophies …. [they] claimed that this one was truly an ideological turning point, America’s last chance to choose what kind of country we should be. But literally within hours of defeat, they turned on a dime and insisted that the American people weren’t given a real chance to decide between two competing visions. And they’ve maintained this claim despite losing the popular vote in the House, the Senate, and the presidency, and despite the fact that demographic trends very clearly spell even further trouble in the future for their hardnosed brand of social intolerance and slavish dedication to the interests of the rich.
11:0: VP Biden attends the inaugural speech of President Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico at the National Palace
11:05: PBO arrives in Philadelphia
11:45: Tours The Rodon Group manufacturing facility
12:05: Delivers remarks
2:00: Departs Philadelphia
2:55: Arrives at the White House
NYT: Timothy Geithner presented John Boehner a detailed proposal on Thursday to avert the year-end fiscal crisis with $1.6 trillion in tax increases over 10 years, $50 billion in immediate stimulus spending, home mortgage refinancing and a permanent end to Congressional control over statutory borrowing limits.
The proposal, loaded with Democratic priorities and short on detailed spending cuts, met strong Republican resistance …. the details show how far the president is ready to push House Republicans. The upfront tax increases in the proposal go beyond what Senate Democrats were able to pass earlier this year….
…. Senate Democratic leaders left their meeting with Mr. Geithner ecstatic. If the Republicans want additional spending cuts in that down payment, the onus is on them to put them on the table, said Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the Democratic leader.
Steve Benen: President Obama had to endure some deeply unpleasant experiences with Congress over the last couple of years, but the result of the incidents taught him valuable lessons. It’s clear, especially after last year’s debt-ceiling crisis, that the president now knows exactly how to negotiate with reckless, radicalized Republicans.
…. The days of preemptive concessions and negotiating from a defensive crouch are over …. Obama is acting like a confident, re-elected president who expects congressional Republicans to start moving in his direction, not the other way around. GOP leaders aren’t accustomed to this dynamic, but it’s probably time they adapt to their new surroundings.
…. Republicans desperately want the president to negotiate with himself …. Obama clearly isn’t willing to play that game anymore.
Greg Sargent: … the White House position is that it has laid out what it wants in the way of new revenue and spending, and that it’s now up to Republicans to detail their bottom line on cuts. It’s the GOP’s turn now. This opening bid will cheer liberals – it strongly suggests the White House is willing to push Republicans very hard, in the belief that it has all the leverage.
The Daily Dolt: Humanity’s most divisive figure, Barack Hussein Obama, is set to become the first president since Dwight Eisenhower in 1956 to win over 51% of the popular vote twice. The Great Divider is currently at 50.9% of the popular vote, and his lead continues to expand as results are still being tallied.
….. now we shall commence with the childish, entirely unprofessional gloating segment of this blog post:
Suck it, Marco Rubio. Suck it, Mitch McConnell. And suck it, Reince Priebus.
President Obama returns from a trip to Thailand, Burma and Cambodia, Nov. 21
2:0: The President pardons the National Thanksgiving Turkey
4:20: The First Family participates in a service event
NYT: In the fractious relationship between President Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, the shoe may have just shifted to the other foot.
After more than a year of Mr. Obama needing – and not getting – much support from his Israeli counterpart in his efforts to woo American Jewish voters at home ahead of his re-election, it is now Mr. Netanyahu, Israel experts say, who needs Mr. Obama to help shore up his support at home.
The Israeli leader is facing an election in January, and if there is one thing that Israeli voters do not like, scholars say, it is any kind of daylight between their prime minister and the American president in times of strife.
After a year in which Mr. Netanyahu made no secret of his support for Mitt Romney, now might seem a perfect time for Mr. Obama to return the favor. And yet, as Israel and Hamas — and their proxies, the United States and Egypt — struggle to agree on a cease-fire in the fighting in Gaza, he has not done so.
…. All of this, Middle East experts say, means that Mr. Obama may have buttressed his own standing with the Israeli public, and is now in a far better position to start pressing Mr. Netanyahu on issues from the Israeli siege of Gaza to Iran to the dormant Middle East peace process, where he has had little leverage.
Charles Pierce: …. I would like to have an opinion on this continual bloodletting that didn’t sound banal but, goddammit, I’m out of them. I am thoroughly sick of both sides here. Opportunistic cutthroats poke a stick at the region’s most powerful military, knowing full well that said military will overreact and that the overreaction will fall most heavily on the civilian population on whose behalf the cutthroats are allegedly acting. Said military reacts right on cue, with all the modern military hardware against which the cutthroats know that they and the people they allegedly represent have no possible defense. Innocent people die. Then more innocent people die…..
…. there is no side worth taking in this. Not any more. It’s just tangled slaughter and bloody ambivalence and blind, unending fury. There is nothing but madness at its center, implacable as gravity, and drawing everything toward it.
NYT: The Obama administration took a big step on Tuesday to carry out the new health care law by defining “essential health benefits” that must be offered to most Americans and by allowing employers to offer much bigger financial rewards to employees who quit smoking or adopt other healthy behaviors.
…. Insurance companies are rushing to devise health benefit plans that comply with the federal standards. Starting in October, people can enroll in the new plans, for coverage that begins on Jan. 1, 2014.
The rules translate the broad promises of the 2010 law into detailed standards that can be enforced by state and federal officials. Under the rules, insurers cannot deny coverage or charge higher premiums to people because they are sick or have been ill. They also cannot charge women more than men, as many now do.