Michael Tomasky: The GOP Plan to Steal Elections. Republicans are proposing a radical rule change in swing states – one that would have handed Romney the election. Michael Tomasky on this jaw-dropping outrage.
….. We could toss all this information onto the ever-growing “Oh, those crazy Republicans” slag heap, have a laugh, and let it go. But this is concerted and serious. Rules, laws, customs, and norms that we have all abided by for centuries (the Electoral College and the primacy of federal law) or decades (recess appointments) have simply been producing too many outcomes conservatives don’t like. Most people, and movements, would try to change themselves so that they could maybe win under the long-agreed-upon rules. But conservatives have a cleverer way. Just make new rules. You better believe things can get worse.
NYT: For most of President Obama’s first term, Republicans used legislative trickery to try to prevent the functioning of two federal agencies they hate, the National Labor Relations Board and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. First they would filibuster the president’s nominees ….. Then they would create fake legislative sessions for the Senate during its recess, intended solely to prevent Mr. Obama from making recess appointments as an end run.
Astonishingly, a federal appeals court upheld this strategy on Friday …. The court even broke with the presidential practice of 150 years by ruling that only vacancies arising during a narrow recess period qualify for recess appointments.
…. The situation demonstrates how dysfunctional Washington has become because of these Republican abuses….With no sign that Republicans are willing to let up on their machinations, Mr. Obama was entirely justified in using his executive power to keep federal agencies operating.
ThinkProgress: Conservatives are outraged over Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s decision to lift the ban on women in combat … CNN’s Soledad O’Brien caught one such critic [Professor Kingsley Browne] off guard …..
O’BRIEN: I’m going to read a little bit from this colonel who said this: ‘The army is not a sociological laboratory; to be effective it must be organized and trained according to the principles which will ensure success…Experiments are a danger to efficiency, discipline and morale and would result in ultimate defeat.’
BROWNE: I think that that’s true….
O’BRIEN: That was from a guy in 1941. And that argument was about not allowing black people in the military….
President Obama will on Friday, February 1, bestow the National Medal of Science upon 12 researchers and the National Medal of Technology and Innovation upon eleven inventors, in a ceremony at the White House. The awards are the nation’s highest in science and technology. See the list of award winners here
A clean-up crew wave to President Obama at the end of the parade (Stephen Crowley, New York Times)
You’ll note Crowley – a professional – failed, unlike some Inauguration photographers I could mention, to capture any actual horse manure in his image. Just saying:
Greg Sargent: Why GOP will buckle on tax rates for rich: Doyle McManus of the Los Angeles Times has a very good overview of the situation: Republicans know that going over the cliff won’t be that damaging in the short term; they know Obama is prepared to go over it without a deal to raise tax rates on the rich; and they know they’ll have to yield sooner or later. It’s good to see more news outlets getting it right on the basic dynamic here.
Dick Armey left the deep-pocketed tea party group he helped build over a clash with a top lieutenant …. [he] received an $8 million buyout….
Remember, the tea party is a grass-roots movement, a spontaneous uprising of ordinary Americans against the snooty, coffee-drinking elite.
ThinkProgress: …. Sen-elect Elizabeth Warren, a dogged consumer advocate whose critique of Wall Street excess was a centerpiece of her campaign, will join the Senate Banking Committee. Wall Street spent boatloads of money to prevent Warren’s election, but now she will have oversight of the rules and regulations under which banks operate….
…. Several Senate candidates supported by Wall Street wound up losing. As a member of the Banking Committee, Warren will have the opportunity to stand against both the watering down of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law and new misguided efforts to reduce limits on Wall Street.
Liberal Librarian (The People’s View): …. it’s also part and parcel of the modern Republican Party: its narrow-mindedness; it’s utter lack of regard for anyone not of its circle — and often not even them; its disbelief in any kind of common humanity which binds together the world’s peoples. A convention which has been US domestic law for 22 years becomes suspect when it returns from the foreign recesses of the UN. A health care law which incorporated many once-mainstream Republican ideas becomes the greatest tyranny ever faced by the nation when translated into action by a foreign usurper.
And that’s just a taste of the international reaction to the Snow poll.
Yes, Snow won – in an avalanche.
But because it’s playing havoc with some people’s browsers – just like last year – there’ll only be the occasional sprinkle. “So what was the flippin’ point in having a snow poll,” I hear you ask. Eh, good question.
President Obama participates in a Twitter live question and answer session in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Dec. 3. (Pete Souza)
Read all the President’s Twitter replies today here
Steve Benen: …. Under this proposal, Republicans would keep all of the Bush-era tax rates, but accept $800 billion in new revenue. How? Through “pro-growth tax reform that closes special-interest loopholes and deductions while lowering rates.”
From there, the GOP leaders want to cut $600 billion from Medicare and Medicaid; cut $300 billion from mandatory programs; cut $200 billion by changing the consumer price index; and then cut another $300 billion in further discretionary spending.
To call this a “counteroffer” is to strip the word of meaning … This isn’t a “counteroffer”; it’s a Christmas wish list written by kids without access to calculators.
Michael Tomasky: So, the House Republicans made their counter-offer today. But it’s not much of a counter-offer. Josh Barro of Bloomberg identifies three problems: 1, zero specifics; 2, what description there is of the tax numbers doesn’t add up; 3, it doesn’t really avert the fiscal cliff….
…. It’s always the same story with these people. They have these policy goals that they know are quite unpopular outside their besotted 30 percent, so they’ll never put specifics to them until the last possible second. But until then, anyone would be a fool to trust them. The only thing they really care about is cutting high-end tax rates, but they know full well that they can’t say that, so they make us all play these silly games.
…. Let’s keep remembering, folks, that they’re going through all these contortions basically so as not to raise the top tax rate 4.6 percent on taxable income above $250,000, which a little less than 2 percent of the population even has. Deeply unserious people.
Josh Barro (Bloomberg): House Republicans are out with their response to the President’s opening bid on the fiscal cliff, and it’s not very impressive. Here are three big problems with the letter they sent to the White House:
1. It’s not really a proposal – it’s just a set of headline numbers without specific policies….
2. The description of tax reform makes little sense…
3. The proposal does not fully avert the fiscal cliff …. it would only partly delay the implementation of austerity measures (tax increases and spending cuts) into future years when the economy is stronger.
…. The letter also says nothing about the payroll tax holiday or extended unemployment insurance benefits, both of which Republicans likely want to sunset. As such, this proposal only constitutes a partial aversion of the fiscal cliff, which would mean a drag on economic growth in 2013.
Erskine Bowles: While I’m flattered the Speaker would call something “the Bowles plan,” the approach outlined in the letter Speaker Boehner sent to the President does not represent the Simpson-Bowles plan, nor is it the Bowles plan. In my testimony before the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, I simply took the mid-point of the public offers put forward during the negotiations to demonstrate where I thought a deal could be reached at that time.
Dan Pfeiffer: “The Republican letter released today does not meet the test of balance. In fact, it actually promises to lower rates for the wealthy and sticks the middle class with the bill. Their plan includes nothing new and provides no details on which deductions they would eliminate, which loopholes they will close or which Medicare savings they would achieve. Independent analysts who have looked at plans like this one have concluded that middle class taxes will have to go up to pay for lower rates for millionaires and billionaires.
While the President is willing to compromise to get a significant, balanced deal and believes that compromise is readily available to Congress, he is not willing to compromise on the principles of fairness and balance that include asking the wealthiest to pay higher rates. President Obama believes – and the American people agree – that the economy works best when it is grown from the middle out, not from the top down. Until the Republicans in Congress are willing to get serious about asking the wealthiest to pay slightly higher tax rates, we won’t be able to achieve a significant, balanced approach to reduce our deficit our nation needs.”
Steve Benen: If a video like this one seems familiar, it’s because this is exactly the sort of clip Obama for America routinely released in the weeks and months leading up to Election Day. Yesterday, however, the same campaign organization put this clip online for President Obama’s new fight.
…. I’m nearly as interested in its existence as I am its message …. Team Obama is hoping to approach the second term very differently from the first, and that’s especially true of dealing with Congress….
… This time, the president is taking a new negotiating posture, hosting public events outside the Beltway, and utilizing his campaign structure in the hopes of shifting public attitudes…..