Greg Sargent: John Boehner’s office is circulating Charles Krauthammer’s column, which argues that Republicans should call Obama’s sequester “bluff” and make no concessions whatsoever in revenues to avert the sequester. This is still more confirmation that the GOP’s explicit position is that allowing the sequester to happen – which Republicans themselves say will gut the military and tank the economy – is preferable to compromising at all with Dems, and that they will use the threat of disaster to force a solution that averts the sequester only by giving Republicans everything they want.
….. we’re back to exactly where we were during the fiscal cliff and debt ceiling fights. Republicans are explicitly and openly using the prospect of serious harm to millions and millions of Americans to force Democrats to agree to a deal that gives Republicans everything that they want, while requiring them to make no concessions whatsoever….
Steve Benen: When it comes to the looming, automatic sequestration cuts, there seem to be two broader debates happening simultaneously. The first, more important question deals with what’s going to happen with the policy itself, and the scope of the damage it could do to the economy, the military, and the country.
The second question is a little pettier: who came up with this awful idea in the first place? A Republican National Committee spokesperson, echoing his party’s favorite new talking point, insists this is all President Obama’s fault.
…. Does the GOP have a point on this? Was the policy actually Obama’s idea? No. The argument is not only wrong, it’s dependent on the entire political world having a very short memory …. Since this has become such an important element of the larger fight, let’s take a minute to set the record straight…..
Business Insider: …. Charles Krauthammer writes that Republicans should “call Obama’s sequester bluff.” It’s being passed around by Republicans and other conservatives on Twitter and in email blasts. His argument – which exemplifies a typical conservative shift on the sequester recently – is that Republicans now have leverage on the sequester over President Barack Obama…..
…. Krauthammer wasn’t always so bullish on using the sequester as a tool for leverage. Last May, he warned in an appearance on Fox News that letting the cuts go into effect would be a “catastrophe” for the nation’s defense…..
…. The conservative editorial board of The Wall Street Journal advanced a similar argument on Thursday. In an editorial entitled “The Unscary Sequester,” the editorial board disputed Washington’s “collective fit of terror.”
…. Then there’s the editorial the board wrote not even seven months ago. It used the same language as Krauthammer – “catastrophe,” which it wrote was “playing out in slow motion.” The board also said that Obama had the leverage, and that it would be a “dangerous game” to play with the sequester.
RollCall: President Barack Obama has agreed to do more than just raise money for House Democrats’ effort to win back the majority in 2014: He is also going to help with candidate recruitment.
Obama will headline eight fundraising events in 2013 for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and more fundraisers are planned for 2014. But Obama’s agreement to help DCCC Chairman Steve Israel of New York make the sell to would-be candidates in targeted districts is also significant.
“It’s transformational,” Israel said in an interview, adding that House Democrats are “firing on all cylinders like I’ve never seen before.”
The president’s efforts to assist House Democrats politically are more than Israel initially even asked for.
Ari Berman (The Nation): In 2006, Congress voted overwhelmingly to reauthorize key provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 for another twenty-five years. The legislation passed 390–33 in the House and 98–0 in the Senate. Every top Republican supported the bill …. Civil rights leaders flanked George W. Bush at the signing ceremony.
Seven years later, the bipartisan consensus that supported the VRA for nearly fifty years has collapsed, and conservatives are challenging the law as never before. Last November, three days after a presidential election in which voter suppression played a starring role, the Supreme Court agreed to hear a challenge to Section 5 of the VRA, which compels parts or all of sixteen states with a history of racial discrimination in voting to clear election-related changes with the federal government. The case will be heard on February 27.
The lawsuit, originating in Shelby County, Alabama, is backed by leading operatives and funders in the conservative movement, along with Republican attorneys general in Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, South Carolina, South Dakota and Texas….
Washington Post: First lady Michelle Obama will join some of Illinois’ most recognizable politicians and clergy Saturday to mourn a 15-year-old honor student whose death has drawn attention to staggering gun violence in the nation’s third-largest city.
But Hadiya Pendleton’s family says her Saturday funeral service won’t be about politics, but about remembering a girl who loved to dance, once appeared in an anti-gang video and died just days after performing at one of President Barack Obama’s inauguration events.
None of the dignitaries are slated to speak during the service. The teen’s pastor and brother will talk, and the musical group Pendleton was a member of will perform.
NYT: Among the victims of gun violence who will be sitting in the House chamber on Tuesday night when President Obama delivers his State of the Union address will be a teacher who survived the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Natalie Hammond, who reportedly took bullet wounds to the leg, foot and hand but narrowly escaped with her life, will attend the speech as the guest of her congresswoman, Elizabeth Esty, the representative for Newtown, Conn.
Ms. Hammond, the school’s lead teacher, and another school employee were the only two people to survive after being shot by the gunman, Adam Lanza. Ms. Hammond will be one of the many victims of gun violence who will attend the State of the Union address.
WH: On Friday, February 15, President Obama will welcome the recipients of the 2012 Citizens Medal to the White House for a special ceremony to recognize their efforts to serve their communities, and inspire others to do the same.
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 Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden talk following a meeting in the Oval Office, March 2 (Pete Souza)
A gazillion thank yous to HZ for her wonderful comment (turned-in-to-a-post today at Tien Le’s excellent suggestion) – it was a joyful, constructive, positive breath of fresh air in the middle of all today’s madness. You’re a gem, HZ.
Robert Shrum: After Mini-Mitt’s diminutive three-point Michigan “triumph,” which was a little like a Roman general being hailed for a near defeat, how important is Ohio? To put it in Santorian terms, it could be apocalypse two; once more, as in Michigan, Mitt will have to avert the sun darkening and the sky falling on his presidential campaign.
President Barack Obama is introduced by Sec. of Interior Ken Salazar before delivering remarks at a conservation event at the U.S. Dept. of Interior in Washington, March, 2
President Barack Obama walks across the South Lawn upon his return to the White House after visiting wounded service members at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland
Mitt Romney holds up a baby from the audience at a campaign rally at Cleveland State University, March 2
Rick Santorum speaks during a campaign stop at Chillicothe High School on March 2, 2012 in Chillicothe, Ohio
First Lady Michelle Obama embraces members of the Johnson C. Smith ladies’ basketball team during a “Let’s Move!” physical fitness promotion between games at the CIAA basketball tournament in Charlotte, N.C.
TOD is up and running on YouTube again after today’s little, eh, setback. Just click the YouTube logo third from the top in the right sidebar and it’ll take you to the channel. I’ll add more of the old videos over the next few days. Hey, this YouTube channel might disappear too …. if it does, well, we’ll just start up another one 😉
2:20 PM: PBO visits the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
5:15 PM: Delivers remarks at a conservation event.
President Barack Obama at a dinner honoring Iraq war veterans, White House Photo, Pete Souza, 2/29/12
In this composite image, President Barack Obama boards Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews, Md., (top) and arrives at Manchester-Boston Regional Airport in Manchester, N.H., (bottom) March 1, 2012. The President traveled to Nashua, N.H., to tour Nashua Community College and deliver remarks on his blueprint for an economy built to last with a focus on American energy. (Official White House Photos by Pete Souza)
Snow falls as people stand in line to see President Barack Obama, March 1, 2012, in Nashua, N.H.
USA Today: Nuclear weapons are very much on the mind of the Obama administration today as they monitor events in North Korea following the death of dictator Kim Jung Il.
Obama spoke with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak shortly after North Korea announced Kim’s death overnight.
On the domestic front today, Obama aides will wait and see if House Republicans vote down a Senate plan to extend the payroll tax cut for two months. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, says the extension should be for a year, as reported by USA TODAY’s Aamer Madhani.
If the House does reject the Senate plan, lawmakers will resume negotiations — as Obama stresses, the payroll tax cut expires at the end of the year.
Steve Benen: The pieces were in place. Senate leads from both parties agreed to a temporary compromise that looked pretty sensible: Dems would get a two-month extension of the payroll tax break and a clean extension of unemployment benefits, while GOP lawmakers would get an expedited decision on the Keystone XL pipeline. It was quickly approved with overwhelming, bipartisan support, 89 to 10.
…. But Boehner then took this victory to his caucus … the Speaker quickly realized his job is to take, not give, orders from his right-wing members: “It’s pretty clear that I and our members oppose the Senate bill.”
…. Why is it, exactly, that Boehner called the compromise a “good deal” and a “victory” on Saturday, only to say he opposes the deal on Sunday?…
Indeed, the House will likely take up the Senate deal later today, simply to prove it can’t pass the lower chamber. In the bigger picture, it’s pretty amazing: House Republicans are going to kill a bipartisan compromise on a middle-class tax cut, which just passed the Senate 89 to 10, the week before Christmas.
…. If Americans find all of this ridiculous, they should have been a little more careful before the 2010 midterms.
ThinkProgress: The Florida Family Association has managed to do a lot of damage with its All-American Muslim boycott over the last week and a half, whether by convincing companies like Lowe’s and Kayak to absolutely humiliate themselves, or by stirring up anti-Muslim sentiment against the cast of a touching and totally uncontroversial reality show.
But fortunately one thing sanctimonious moralizers do well is make lists, and they’ve kept track of advertisers who stuck to their guns and either continued to advertise on the show after the FFA started its campaign.
So if you’re withdrawing your business from Lowe’s and Kayak and, during the holiday season, looking for new places to spend some money, you can use their list against them. Those advertisers include:
– Big Lots
– Conagra’s Hunt’s Diced Tomatoes
– Discover Card
– Disney for The Muppets
– GeicoHonda North America, for the Accord and Odyssey
– HTC Phones
– Resolve Clean
– Scrubbing Bubbles
– Kay Jewelers
NYT: Almost 13 years ago, Mitt Romney left Bain Capital, the successful private equity firm he had helped start, and moved to Utah to rescue the Salt Lake City Olympic Games and begin a second career in public life.
Yet when it came to his considerable personal wealth, Mr. Romney never really left Bain.
In what would be the final deal of his private equity career, he negotiated a retirement agreement with his former partners that has paid him a share of Bain’s profits ever since, bringing the Romney family millions of dollars in income each year and bolstering the fortune that has helped finance Mr. Romney’s political aspirations.