-- The difference between S&P and Moody's. -- Over in Europe, they have a real (Italian) crisis. -- The Fed knows things are bad and are likely to remain bad. Here's what they should do. -- London: before and after the riots.
Over the last week or so, after casually assuming that President Obama will probably win reelection, the notion that he won't is gaining sudden momentum. Clearly, the economy poses a very serious risk, and will determine the basic shape of the electoral landscape. On the other hand, some campaigns underperform or overperform the election fundamentals. A couple right-of-center writers today persuasively suggest reasons Obama should probably overperform.
Via TPM, Rep. Michael Burgess endorses impeaching President Obama on unspecified grounds: When one attendee suggested that the House push for impeachment proceedings against President Barack Obama to obstruct the president from pushing his agenda, Burgess was receptive. "It needs to happen, and I agree with you it would tie things up," Burgess said.
One of the right-wing memes still floating around is that President Obama is not very smart. Michele Bachmann has played to this sentiment by promising never to use a teleprompter. (There's a ridiculous right-wing meme that Obama only sounds smart because he reads everything off the teleprompter, a premise that ignores the copious number of times he's expressed himself in unscripted settings.) Wall Street Journal columnist Bret Stephens makes the point more bluntly today: How many times have we heard it said that Mr. Obama is the smartest president ever?
Eric Cantor is circulating a memo to House Republicans urging them to hang tough on their absolute opposition to any deficit reduction plan that includes higher revenue.
Really? This is what they're going with? Barack Obama’s aides and advisers are preparing to center the president’s re-election campaign on a ferocious personal assault on Mitt Romney’s character and business background, a strategy grounded in the early stage expectation that the former Massachusetts governor is the likely GOP nominee.
The fetishization of bipartisanship in Washington has a cargo-cult quality to it. The worshippers of bipartisanship can see that the bipartisanship has disappeared, but they do not know why. And so they wistfully call for a return to the social mores of the old bipartisan era. This Washington Post op-ed, for instance, offers the hope that if we bring back dinner parties, bipartisanship will follow: When I worked in the White House Social Office, I was often surprised at how many officials — some serving in the same agency or in the same house of Congress — had never met.
The first item on President Obama's agenda, and also the most apparently straightforward way to avoid imminent harm to the economy, is to extend the payroll tax cut next year. It's a tax cut, Republicans should favor it. You know, the worst thing you can do in a recession is raise taxes, as they've said a billion times? Easy call, right? Wrong. Here's Paul Ryan, asked about extending the payroll tax cuts: This is the same economic reasoning, policies and logic that the president used to sell his stimulus. He said it would keep unemployment from getting above 8 percent. It didn't.
Nate Silver gently suggests the S&P analysts may not be terribly bright, brainwise: What factors is S.&P. looking at when it rates sovereign debt? A country’s debt-to-G.D.P. ratio? Its inflation rate? The size of its annual deficits? S.&P. does look at each of these factors. But it also places very heavy emphasis on subjective views about a country’s political environment. In fact, these political factors are at least as important as economic variables in determining their ratings. For instance, the S.&P.
Ross Douthat's column today makes a sharp point about the myth of the realigning election, and how this encourages partisans to dream of total victory: This “realignment theory” was embraced by many scholars because it fit the historical record so well.