Instead, we're mostly going to focus on what appears to be an astonishing amount of Republican self-inflicted political wounds from the past week. It's as if someone somewhere gave Republicans an order: "Stick your foot way out, now... ready... aim... fire!" Even when Republicans weren't shooting at their own feet this week, it appears they were conducting a circular firing squad instead. The 2014 campaign, in other words, is off to a raucous start... and it's only February.
Archive of Articles for February, 2014
I thought that now, immediately after Arizona's governor just vetoed a very discriminatory bill, was a good time to repeat my claims about how the tide had turned. The bill in question is even instructive, because it shows how the anti-marriage-equality folks are grasping at straws -- they are passing state laws in full anticipation of marriage equality becoming the law in the entire nation. In other words, they know they're fighting a losing battle, and they are looking for ways to strategically retreat.
Our heroine, Libby R. Terryan, wakes up to a bright new beautiful world in which citizens and businesses are free to act without governmental restraint upon their deeply-held religious beliefs. Libby breathes in this sweet air of freedom as she gets ready for work. Because of all this intoxicating freedom, Libby finds herself running a bit late.
President Obama just released a statement from the White House to mourn the passing of comedy genius Harold Ramis. It reads:
As we enter into what political wonks call "primary season," the next few months are going to prove instructive as to the relative strength in the Republican Party of both the Tea Party and the Establishment Republican factions. The Tea Party rode high in the 2010 election cycle, and was again influential during the whole 2012 race, but one has to wonder if the luster of the Tea Party's shine is beginning to wear off -- even among Republican primary voters. The next few months will tell, as sitting Republicans either win their primaries or are dethroned by their Tea Party challengers.
We've got a lot to get to in our weekly roundup of politics this week, it seems.
The White House has just given everyone a peek at what President Obama's next budget proposal is going to look like. Full details aren't yet available and likely won't be until next month, when Obama's budget is officially released. What is known, at this point, is that the White House is signaling that the attempt to reach out to Republicans and meet them halfway in some "grand bargain" on the budget is officially over, at least for the time being. Specifically, Obama has dropped his "chained C.P.I." idea. What this is going to mean for the rest of the year is likely "not much," at least outside the realm of politicking. It is, after all, an election year. But Obama is sending a strong message to Democrats that he won't be "giving away the store" in any budget agreements this year, which comes as a relief to many Democrats.
Marijuana is in the news today, as the Coalition for Cannabis Policy Reform (the best-financed advocacy group in California) have stated that they will not, after all, be moving forward with a ballot initiative in 2014 to legalize recreational use of marijuana. After considering their ballot measure's chances (the "Control, Regulate and Tax Marijuana Act"), the group has decided to wait until 2016 to move forward. This may come as a blow to California marijuana supporters, but in the long run it may have been the smart thing to do. Waiting another two years isn't a welcome prospect to many, but it may produce a better law and broader public support in the end.
The Congressional Budget Office just put out a report on what effects raising the minimum wage might have on the American economy. The Washington Post has a pretty good rundown (complete with charts and excerpts from the report), which does a good job showing what the C.B.O. numbers really are, and what they predict. One of these numbers in particular is getting most of the attention, but we're going to largely avoid the debate over the numbers themselves and instead focus in on what this report is going to mean politically for both sides in the debate.
Happy Presidents' Day to all!