Archive of Articles for April, 2011

Friday Talking Points [163] -- The Ads Just Write Themselves

[ Posted Friday, April 15th, 2011 – 17:33 UTC ]

Something the media largely missed in the midst of multiple budgetary battles this week was the fact that this is what bipartisanship looks like. The media, at least the "serious" ones, residing either inside the Beltway or in lower Manhattan, have long made much sport out of decrying "partisanship" -- at least, when Democrats act like Democrats, at any rate. Politicians are supposed to "work together" in some Utopian dreamland, to "get serious things done." It sounds great in an editorial, and all of that.

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Breathtaking Republican Hypocrisy On Medicare

[ Posted Wednesday, April 13th, 2011 – 16:46 UTC ]

Republican hypocrisy on "cutting" versus "saving" Medicare has reached the point where it almost literally knows no bounds. To be sure, Republicans have always fundamentally been against the concept of Medicare, from the very beginning. That's an ideological position which you may or may not agree with, but Republicans have at least held to it fairly consistently over the past half-century or so. But the fetid stench of hypocrisy entered into Republican discourse last year, when they attempted to position themselves as (believe it or not) the ones who were going to "save Medicare." One year later, they are attempting to end the program as we know it within ten years. In other words: Republicans were against Medicare, before they were for it, before they were against it, again.

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Happy Birthday, Romneycare!

[ Posted Tuesday, April 12th, 2011 – 16:59 UTC ]

One person who (assumably) won't be celebrating the fifth anniversary of Romneycare is Mitt Romney himself. This is because the entire issue has become the biggest albatross around his neck, politically, as he tosses his hat in the 2012 presidential ring. So don't look for him to be cutting a "Romneycare fifth birthday cake" today. In fact, as far as Romney is concerned, it would be just fine if everyone conveniently forgot about the issue altogether.

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Suggestions For Obama's Medicare Counterproposal

[ Posted Monday, April 11th, 2011 – 17:21 UTC ]

President Obama has now called a "do-over" on his 2012 budget proposal. This news broke on the Sunday morning political television chat circuit, as the dust was settling on the government shutdown standoff for the remainder of the 2011 budget. Obama's move was prompted by the budget proposal put on the table by Republican numbers guru Paul Ryan, which seeks to "reform entitlements" by turning Medicare into a voucher system. Obama's new proposal will reportedly also offer "entitlement reform," although no specifics have leaked out yet. What the president should realize at this point, though, is that Ryan has just put him in the driver's seat. Ryan's proposal is so radical that it's going to be very easy for Democrats to present themselves as a more humane alternative to the Republican agenda, and it's going to be very easy for whatever Obama comes up with to look a lot better than just handing seniors a voucher and saying: "Good luck with that medical insurance marketplace."

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Friday Talking Points [162] -- Budget Standoff Continues

[ Posted Friday, April 8th, 2011 – 16:51 UTC ]

Sigh. What's depressing about the whole thing, to me at least, is how the entire knock-down-drag-out fight is merely the preliminary round. This whole government shutdown walk-to-the-brink-and-stare-into-the-abyss thing is nothing more than the warmup for the next budgetary battles -- which will be much bigger. The entire initial fight is about staking out ground for the next two fights -- raising the debt ceiling, and the 2012 budget. Nobody involved -- not the Tea Party Republicans, not President Obama, not John Boehner, not Harry Reid -- really cares all that much about how this particular round ends up. They're all stuck thinking: "If I give in now, they'll want more later" -- and they're all entirely correct.

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The More Things Change...

[ Posted Thursday, April 7th, 2011 – 17:14 UTC ]

The president and the newly-resurgent congressional Republicans at an impasse. Republicans put a bill on the table which was unacceptable to the White House, because of ideological "riders" added. The debt ceiling has to be raised. Republicans talk of reducing the size of government and deficit slashing. The president says they just want to make deep cuts in Medicare. The government shut itself down.

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Two Reluctant Bargainers

[ Posted Wednesday, April 6th, 2011 – 16:42 UTC ]

In the midst of a budget fight not seen in Washington in over a decade -- with the possibility of a government shutdown looming -- it's interesting to see how the two men at the heart of the standoff seem to be the least fervent ideologues of either party. What this means for the negotiations themselves is anyone's guess, but it's hard not to see how uncomfortable both Speaker of the House John Boehner and President Barack Obama are at this sort of bare-knuckles game.

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D.N.C. Makes Excellent Choice

[ Posted Tuesday, April 5th, 2011 – 17:29 UTC ]

The Democratic National Committee announced today they had named Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz as their next chairperson. She will replace Tim Kaine, who is leaving the post to run for the Senate in Virginia. This is an excellent choice for the D.N.C., and Wasserman Schultz should be welcomed to her new post by all Democrats who want to see their party succeed.

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Obama Poll Watch -- March, 2011

[ Posted Monday, April 4th, 2011 – 15:06 UTC ]

President Obama's poll numbers slipped back a bit in March, bringing an end to his recent "bump." This was Obama's first bad month in a while, ending the positive trends Obama had set for the past two months in approval rating, and for the past five months in disapproval rating. In March, Obama lost all the ground he had gained in February, but still finished the month up from where he started the year. In a statistical twist, Obama's approval and disapproval numbers for March, 2011 exactly matched his numbers for March, 2010.

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Friday Talking Points [161] -- April Fools

[ Posted Friday, April 1st, 2011 – 16:47 UTC ]

To clarify that title: when you pull a prank on this particular day, you're supposed to reveal yourself as the prankster by yelling "April Fools!" (or even, as a purist might insist, "April Fools'!"). I am not doing so, hence the absence of the exclamation mark. Sadly, my task is today is not to prank anyone (I did that last year and promised I wouldn't do it again), but to catalogue the recent spate of foolishness from our national political arena. A sober list of the fools of April, rather than an excited "April Fools!" gotcha, in other words. Well, maybe not all that sober. You decide.

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