The Obama administration, after failing to head off a Palestinian request to the Security Council for United Nations membership, is prepared to use its veto against it. In an undistinguished address to the General Assembly on Wednesday, President Barack Obama advised the Palestinians to bypass the UN and to confine their campaign for statehood to negotiations with Israel.
Mitt Romney has shed the dark blue suit, white shirt, and pale blue tie of his 2008 campaign for an open-neck tattersall shirt with its sleeves rolled up. His sideburns are graying, and his eyes are lined, but he still sports a boyish grin and radiates the can-do enthusiasm of a man who is promising to turn the country around the way he once turned around the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics.
Barack Obama gave the best speech of his presidency tonight. It was angry, direct, and entirely appropriate to the occasion—an “economic crisis,” which, as he said, has been made worse by a “political crisis.” He spoke to the Congress, but also over their head to their constituents, and appealed to them to put pressure on their representatives. His proposal to help the economy was not perfect—too much consisted of tax cuts and not spending—but for once the scale of the proposal, $450 billion, fit the crisis, and if enacted, would help and not damage the economy.
Rick Perry, who has pulled ahead of Mitt Romney in the national polls, had to show whether he could hold his own in last night’s presidential debate at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California; and he did so. Romney began to develop an avenue of attack against Perry, but I don’t think it is going to be effective. The main thing in debates is not so much what you say, but how you say it. It’s a matter of attitude. Perry appeared tough, confident, able to deflect criticism, and to fire back when fired upon—whether over jobs in Texas, or his support for vaccination.
Bedford, New Hampshire—I’m on vacation, but I couldn’t resist driving over to the Bedford Village Inn this morning to hear the newest Republican candidate for president, Texas Governor Rick Perry, at the regular “Politics and Eggs” get together. I thought that, with one exception, Perry came off pretty well—enough to make him a formidable challenger to Mitt Romney. He also didn’t position himself so far to the right that he would become an easy target in the general election. Perry has rugged Marlboro Man good looks, but he is not a commanding figure.
[Guest post by John Judis] When Standard & Poor’s issued its statement downgrading America’s long-term credit rating from AAA to AA+, it said it based its decision on two factors: first, “the difficulties in bridging the gaps between the political parties over fiscal policy,” and second, because the “fiscal consolidation plan that Congress and the Administration agreed to … falls short of the amount … necessary to stabilize general government debt burden by the middle of the decade.” In the longer exposition of the decision, S&P singled out the “political brinkmanship of recent month
In the 1930s, as the world plunged into depression, there were two political factions that insisted nothing could be done: Marxists, who saw the depression as the death knell of capitalism, and laissez-faire economists, who believed that the only way to revive the economy was to let the depression takes its course like a bad storm at sea.
[Guest post by John Judis] In Politico today, there is a account of the negotiations between the Obama administration and the Republican leadership over the deal to raise the debt ceiling. According to Politico, the key issue dividing the two sides was about the distribution of spending cuts that would automatically take place next December if Congress can’t agree among themselves on what to cut. Specifically, it was over what percentage of the threatened cuts should go to defense.