In honor of Obama’s opening gambit on the Bush tax cuts, a brief reminiscence from late 2010, the last time he found himself in this position. From my favorite book on the subject: By the time the White House turned to strategizing for the Bush tax cut showdown that began later in November, almost the entire political and economic team had concluded that the way to proceed was with an aggressive opening bid: say, insisting that the upper income tax cuts expire while all the middle-class cuts stay in place.
From the excellent lead to The New York Times story on Mitt Romney's Hamptons fundraisers: "EAST HAMPTON, N.Y. — A woman in a blue chiffon dress poked her head out of a black Range Rover here on Sunday afternoon and yelled to an aide to Mitt Romney. “Is there a V.I.P. entrance? We are V.I.P.” No such entrance existed. The line of cars waiting to enter a Romney fund-raiser on a waterfront estate here had reached 30 deep, a gridlocked testament to the Republican candidate’s financial might on a weekend when he is expected to haul in close to $4 million in the Hamptons." Hmm.
It was this time last month when the president committed his infamous “private sector is doing fine” faux pas. To Barack Obama’s defenders, it was a classic Washington gaffe, in which a public figure utters a true but nonetheless impolitic remark. And, on some level, there was a fair amount of truth to it. Obama’s point was that the real drag on the economy isn’t the private sector, which has steadily added jobs over the last few years, but the public sector, which has continued to shed them at an alarming pace.
If you haven’t been following that other British scandal—not Murdoch, but the interest-rate scandal that made heads roll at Barclays—then you really should be. As Matt Taibbi explains, it’s a neutron-bomb of a revelation that’s caused even hardened cynics to rethink their assumptions about the banking system.
My first reaction to the conservative fulminating against John Roberts was that the right doesn’t realize how good they have it. The chief justice finds a way to limit future government activism while preserving (actually resurrecting) the nonpartisan standing of the Supreme Court, and all for the low-cost of a affirming domestic program that, while no doubt detested, was democratically enacted, and conservatives can’t find something nice to say about him?
If for some reason you haven’t read the remarkable Jan Crawford piece about how John Roberts changed his vote on health care, then you really should. As Jonathan Cohn points out, Crawford is well-sourced and highly credible on matters involving legal conservatives, and she based her account on “two sources with specific knowledge of the deliberations.” The obvious next question, as Orin Kerr writes, is “who leaked”?
Mitt Romney finds himself in a somewhat awkward position. According to his conservative base, the Affordable Care Act is not just an assault on the constitution, but on the natural order of the universe. Yet a chief justice with solid conservative credentials has just affirmed this legal abomination. Going forward, the battle over the law’s basic legitimacy is not one Romney is likely to win in the only court he can appeal to—that being public opinion. So what’s the de facto GOP nominee to do?
A number of commentators have noted that one upshot of the Supreme Court largely affirming the Affordable Care Act is that it will help shape public opinion on the law, which is still a bit amorphous. I agree, and think the effect could be even larger than they realize. If you look at recent polling, you find that around 35 percent of Americans support the law, around 40 to 45 percent oppose it, and the rest don’t really have an opinion.
And, no, I’m not talking about the sad, steady decline of “Glee.” I’m talking about this genuinely good idea from Portland’s sanitation brain trust, via The Wall Street Journal: “In a first for any large American municipality, Portland last fall abolished weekly trash pickups, switching to once every two weeks.
Hey, looks like Ike was onto something after all! From today’s Politico story about Lockheed Martin: Right before Election Day, the company is likely to notify the “vast majority” of its 123,000 workers that they’re at risk of being laid off, said Greg Walters, the company’s vice president of legislative affairs. Walters’s comments are some of the most specific threats yet from an industry that’s trying to head off the $500 billion in automatic cuts in defense spending set to begin taking effect Jan. 2.