These are my links for December 5th through December 10th:
Options narrow to avert fiscal cliff– Time is running short — and so are the options available to avert the fiscal cliff.President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) have just 21 days to resolve their differences over how to handle more than $500 billion in expiring tax rates and steep spending cuts.Although they met Sunday for the first time in more than three weeks — signaling a new, potentially more productive stage of the negotiations — there was no progress on the staff level ahead of that sit-down, according to Democratic and Republican sources.The White House and Capitol Hill are now staring at a narrow set of options fraught with political and policy peril. The course they choose will set the tone for the 113th Congress, Boehner’s speakership and Obama’s second term.
Here is POLITICO’s rundown of the most likely scenarios:
Dick Armey: John Boehner should vote on fiscal cliff plan– Former House Majority Leader Dick Armey suggested on Monday that House Speaker John Boehner should allow a vote on Republican and Democratic tax-and-spending plans to avert the fiscal cliff and force President Barack Obama to “live with the consequences” of his plan.“Unless the president shows some real negotiating, let’s say vigor, commitment, what I would do if I was John Boehner is I would take my version of what I think is the best policy for America to the floor, offer the Democrats, on behalf of the president, a chance to offer a substitute,” Armey, a Texas Republican who was majority leader from 1995 to 2003, said on CBS’s “This Morning.”
The Journal’s Tax Advice– he The Wall Street Journal editors are are unhappy about the present correlation unhappy about the present correlation of political forces. Who isn’t? They’re of political forces. Who isn’t? They’re also, I gather, unhappy about “Beltway also, I gather, unhappy about “Beltway sages” who, facing the fact that the sages” who, facing the fact that the Bush tax cuts expire at the end of this Bush tax cuts expire at the end of this year, have suggested Republicans year, have suggested Republicans accept a modest increase in tax rates accept a modest increase in tax rates for the wealthy while leading the for the wealthy while leading the charge to keep taxes from rising for 98 charge to keep taxes from rising for 98 percent of the American people. percent of the American people.It would be great if the It would be great if the Journal Journal editors editors had a better idea of what Republicans had a better idea of what Republicans could do. They don’t.
Doctors: We Gave at the Office, and Then Some– As a physician who treats Medicare patients, the fiscal cliff is all too familiar territory. Living under the current Medicare reimbursement system, known as the Sustainable Growth Rate, the viability of my practice is under threat.At least once a year, I am taken to a precipice known as the SGR cliff, which mandates that reimbursement rates are reduced by significant levels unless Congress steps in with its “doc fix” and staves off the cut. This year is no different. The SGR rate will be cut by nearly 27 percent on Jan. 1 unless Congress acts.This threatened cut, coupled with rate reductions and penalties already codified under the 2010 health care law and sequestration amount to a systematic targeting of Medicare doctors to pay for deficit reduction.To be clear, our SGR cliff is not merely an annual exercise. In 2010, we faced no less than five cliffs, sometimes going over, then fixed retroactively after a few weeks of panic and confusion among us and our patients.
If this weren’t enough, the grand promise made to physicians to fix the SGR in the 2010 law actually worsened the situation by once again targeting reimbursement rates and adding reporting and electronic health record mandates. For good measure, the law created the Independent Payment Advisory Board as a means to further reduce reimbursements.
ObamaCare: Businesses Face Wrenching Choice– The president’s health care law presents the nation’s employers with a number of extremely difficult decisions. Perhaps nothing illustrates the selection of no-good-choices better than the requirement that businesses offer expensive insurance or pay a penalty.Recent news media coverage has highlighted larger businesses reducing employee hours below 30 hours per week in order to avoid the employer-mandate requirements or penalties. Smaller businesses, too, might be forced to reduce employment below the 50 full-time equivalent employee threshold, or resist growing above the threshold, to avoid the mandate. None of these options is productive, and they ultimately harm employees and the economy. Replacing one full-time position with two part-time positions is not job creation. Further, money that must go toward increased benefits or non-tax deductible penalties will crowd out wage increases and business investment.
The Republican Tax Panic– If any Republicans thought that President Obama would respond with magnanimity in victory, they now know better. He is determined to rout them on taxes, give as a little as possible on spending, and blame them for any economic damage in the bargain. The question for the GOP is how to minimize the harm to the economy, as well as to their chances of a political and policy comeback in 2014 and beyond.So it’s a shame that Republicans are playing into Mr. Obama’s hands, negotiating in public among themselves, prematurely giving up on the tax issue and undermining House Speaker John Boehner in the process. Mr. Obama isn’t going to blink on the budget if he thinks Republicans are going to blink first, and so far the emerging GOP position seems to be to surrender on taxes first and hope Mr. Obama will have mercy on them later on entitlements.
How Obama’s data scientists built a volunteer army on Facebook– No matter how good your social media team is, the chances are it’s never done anything like this. Rather than just using Facebook as a channel for posting messages and tracking its followers’ feelings, the Obama for America data science team turned social media into a tool for efficiently recruiting the human resources it needed leading into the election’s home stretch.The key was a model for determining who among its followers were the best messengers, who they might be able to persuade, and what actions they might be willing to take. So, rather than blast all of President Obama’s 30 million Facebook fans or 20 million Twitter followers with the same plea for cash or neighborhood organizers, the campaign was able to make informed decisions about who it asked for what, and how it asked them.
GOP Rep. Cole: Take Obama’s offer to gain tax cuts for ‘98 percent’– Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) said Sunday that House Republicans should agree to extending tax cuts for the majority of U.S. taxpayers.Speaking on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Cole continued to champion his case that the GOP caucus should take the deal that President Obama is offering: keeping tax rates in place for those making less than $250,000 a year, while allowing rates to increase on the wealthy.
White House could protect middle class from looming tax hikes– The White House has the power to temporarily protect taxpayers from middle-class tax hikes even as upper income rates rise if Congress does nothing and all of the Bush-era tax rates expire in January.Experts and lawmakers alike agree that Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has the power to adjust how much is withheld from paychecks for tax purposes — for all taxpayers or just for some.
GOP seeks to up its online game– Republican digital gurus are starting to chart a path forward for 2014 and beyond after conceding that they were badly outgunned by Barack Obama’s campaign in cyberspace this past November.About 50 top Republicans, both staffers for the Romney campaign and the Republican National Committee as well as outside GOP digital consultants, huddled in Washington Thursday morning to rehash what Mitt Romney did wrong, digitally speaking.
Charles Krauthammer: It’s nothing but a power play– What should Republicans do? Stop giving stuff away. If Obama remains intransigent, let him be the one to take us over the cliff. And then let the new House, which is sworn in weeks before the president, immediately introduce and pass a full across-the-board restoration of the George W. Bush tax cuts.Obama will counter with the usual all-but-the-rich tax cut — as the markets gyrate and the economy begins to wobble under his feet.Result? We’re back to square one, but with a more level playing field. The risk to Obama will be rising and the debt ceiling will be looming. Most important of all, however, Republicans will still be in possession of their unity, their self-respect — and their trousers.———–
The Fiscal Cliff does not look so bad, now does it?
Sen. Rand Paul: We Should Let Dems Raise Taxes And Then Let Them Own It– SEN. RAND PAUL: I have yet another thought on how we can fix this. Why don’t we let the Democrats pass whatever they want? If they are the party of higher taxes, all the Republicans vote present and let the Democrats raise taxes as high as they want to raise them, let Democrats in the Senate raise taxes, let the president sign it and then make them own the tax increase. And when the economy stalls, when the economy sputters, when people lose their jobs, they know which party to blame, the party of high taxes. Let’s don’t be the party of just almost as high taxes.LARRY KUDLOW, CNBC: Some people have called that the doomsday scenario. Others have said, ‘Look, it’s a strategic retreat on the Republicans’ behalf.’ WWould you vote present for that in the Senate if that came up?RAND PAUL: Yes, I don’t think we have to in the Senate. In the House, they have to because the Democrats don’t have the majority. In the Senate, I’m happy not to filibuster it, and I will announce tonight on your show that I will work with Harry Reid to let him pass his big old tax hike with a simple majority if that’s what Harry Reid wants, because then they will become the party of high taxes and they can own it.=========
Senator Paul has a point….
California Republicans look to Jim Brulte to lead comeback– Following a catastrophic election for the California Republican Party, influential members of the party have recruited a prominent former legislator, Jim Brulte, to lead a comeback.The former Senate Republican leader has been discussing his interest in the party chairmanship with members of the party since the election a month ago. Brulte is a giant in GOP circles, having helped Republicans in the 1990s win a majority in the state Assembly for the first time in nearly 25 years.
Online sales tax to be added to defense authorization bill– This may be the last Christmas of online shopping without paying sales tax.A proposed online sales tax has been offered as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, much to the ire of opponents.The Computer and Communications Industry Association, a group that opposes this move, says that an online sales tax will burden small businesses, “some of the most promising candidates for future economic growth.”
These are my links for November 27th through November 28th:
Obama: Let’s Get Fiscal Cliff Deal Before Christmas – U.S. Fiscal Cliff – CNBC– President Barack Obama said Wednesday he hoped to reach a deal on the “Fiscal Cliff” before Christmas but insisted that Congress move now to prevent a middle-class tax increase in January. “Let’s approach this with the middle class in mind,” he said.”Our ultimate goal is to get an agreement that is fair and balanced,” the president said in a nationally televised statement from the White House. “My hope is to get this done before Christmas.””But the place where we already have, in theory at least, complete agreement right now is on middle-class taxes,” Obama said. “If Congress does nothing, every family in America will see their taxes automatically go up at the beginning of next year.”And for a typical family of four, he said, that would mean a tax increase of $2,200. “That means less money for buying groceries, less money for filling prescriptions, less money for buying diapers,” Obama said, standing in front of a group of middle-class Americans he had met with earlier. “It means a tougher choice between paying the rent and paying tuition. And middle-class families just can’t afford that right now.”========
Obama should stop the BS campaigning and grandstanding. Get to work negotiating with the Speaker and House GOP leadership.
Romney’s Digital Guru Convenes Election Post-Mortem – Going to Be Brutal– Mitt Romney’s digital director will be leading an invitation-only postmortem to talk about what worked and what didn’t work for the Republicans in the presidential election.For a lot of Republicans, what didn’t work is the fact that their candidate lost. Whether it’s justified or not, digital director Zac Moffatt has come in for a disproportionate share of heat among Republicans unhappy about the result.On Dec. 6, Moffatt and Republican National Committee digital-strategy director Tyler Brown will have a chance to explain themselves and their strategy before an audience of leading Republican digital practitioners at an RNC event at the Capitol Hill Club in Washington.
Obama public relations effort aims to avoid ‘fiscal cliff’ – Symbolism Over Substance– The White House signaled Tuesday that it will try to marshal the momentum from President Obama’s reelection triumph into another victory at the negotiating table, launching a full-fledged public relations effort to avoid a “fiscal cliff” that could jolt the nation back toward recession.Administration officials said Obama will hit the road this week for a campaign-style series of events with ordinary Americans, including a visit to a toy manufacturer in suburban Philadelphia on Friday. That trip and others will be aimed at increasing pressure on Congress to reach an agreement on heading off a series of automatic spending cuts and tax increases that are scheduled to begin in January
Symbolism over substance
Erick Erickson considering challenge to Chambliss– Popular conservative blogger and radio personality Erick Erickson said Tuesday he was considering a primary challenge to Sen. Saxby Chambliss after a host of political bigs had approached him about staging a bid of his own in the days since the incumbent broke with a vaulted no-taxes pledge.“For a week now, I’ve been getting calls to see if I would challenge Saxby Chambliss, once he really got into the whole ‘raising taxes issue,’” Erickson said in the opening segment of his radio show Tuesday. “Well, the pace quickened. I got a lot of people pledging a lot of money in the last couple of days if I did something like this. And I’ve been very adamant, I wasn’t going to do it, but after a few conversations today with a few heavy hitters in Washington, D.C. and some here in Georgia, I should at least consider it.”Erickson, a CNN political contributor and editor-in-chief of conservative haunt RedState, added he was “very flattered” and was in “prayerful consideration” about waging a possible challenge to the two-term Chambliss.Erickson was a one-term city councilman in Macon, Georgia, but resigned when his work–a radio show, television gig and editorship of highly-trafficked blog–became too great to shoulder in tandem with his public service.————-
A credible campaign against an incumbent U.S. Senator?
Going to be tough.
Obama sells budget plan to middle class, biz leaders– For President Obama, it’s another day of focus on the “fiscal cliff.”Selling his plan to reduce the federal debt in part by raising taxes on the wealthy, Obama meets Wednesday with selected members of the middle class and the business community.Obama will speak during the event with middle class Americans, some of whom responded to an e-mail solicitation from the White House on the looming “fiscal cliff” — a package of tax hikes and budget cuts that kick in if the White House and Congress can’t strike a deal to reduce a federal debt that now tops $16 trillion.Later Wednesday, Obama and Vice President Biden meet with business leaders to “discuss the actions we need to take to keep our economy growing and find a balanced approach to reduce our deficit.”These are the latest steps in an all-out political blitz to sell Obama’s budget plans. On Friday, the president is scheduled to visit a Pennsylvania business — a toy factory near Philadelphia — to discuss the impact of the fiscal cliff.
Obama thinks he is still campaigning.
America would be better off meeting with the House GOP leaders and cutting a deal.
After Close Election, Dems Look Like Sore Winners or Why Ken Burns is a Jerk– Post-election season is a time for healing, for putting aside the rancor of a long campaign and rediscovering what unites us. It has not been that way this year.Prudence, one would think, if not generosity of spirit, should impel Democrats to be magnanimous in victory. Romney did receive about 48 percent of the vote. A little modesty among the winners would seem to be in order.Instead, the gloating has been extravagant. Worse, liberals have gorged themselves on the same junk food they enjoyed during the campaign and cannot seem to resist under any circumstances — slandering their opponents. The smears are so casual and commonplace that we become weary of responding. But we must protest, or someone new to politics may assume that we concede the point.Appearing on “Meet the Press”, documentary filmmaker Ken Burns attributed conservative unhappiness with the election to racism. “Race is always there in America,” Burns opined. “It’s always something we don’t want to talk about. Do you think we’d have a secession movement — a faddish movement — if this president wasn’t [sic] African-American? Do you think the vitriol that came out of some elements of the tea party?”Ken Burns is a fine filmmaker. I met him once, and I found him to be engaging and amiable. It’s painful to see him descend to this kind of defamation. Some disappointed Republicans are talking secession in Texas and elsewhere. This is proof of racism? Is this the standard of evidence Burns employs for his films?
Obamacare’s Rationers Employ The “It’s Good For You” Defense– Obamacare’s backers have a plan to justify their attempts to ration medicine — by saying that it’s good for you.Through 2019, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — otherwise known as Obamacare — will allocate some $3.5 billion toward “Comparative Effectiveness Research,” or CER, which pits drug versus drug in tests intended to determine which treatments work best.CER advocates say that it’s designed to correct a “market failure.” Right now, they argue, drug firms need not demonstrate that their product is better than those already on the market — only that it is effective at treating the disease it targets. Drug companies have little incentive to compare their products to those made by other firms — as they may not come out on top.CER sounds innocuous enough. Who could be against research to help doctors make more informed decisions?But the truth is that CER is nothing more than a backdoor route to healthcare rationing. Such research will almost certainly be used to not-so-subtly influence treatment decisions.
Retailers confident online sales tax has votes to pass– Retail groups are increasingly confident that they have the votes to pass a federal online sales tax in the final weeks of the 112th Congress if they can secure time on the legislative calendar.With less than five weeks to go in the year, supporters are concentrating most of their efforts on the Senate, where a measure giving states greater latitude to collect sales taxes from online purchases has a powerful backer in Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.).At the same time, retail groups acknowledge that the talks over looming spending cuts and tax hikes could get acrimonious, and that Democrats and Republicans might have little appetite to deal with other measures if their negotiations run deep into December.“I think this is a question of can we get a vote, not if it can pass,” said Jason Brewer, a spokesman for the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA). “We feel confident about the vote count, but there’s also not a lot of time to push this across the finish line.”“When you end up with a major political situation like the ‘fiscal cliff,’ that overrides everything,” Rachelle Bernstein, tax counsel at the National Retail Federation, told The Hill. “I think we feel that we have a good piece of legislation pulled together, with lots of support. But there’s a decent chance politics could derail it.”
Tom Cole: Join with President Obama on quick deal– Republican Rep. Tom Cole urged colleagues in a private session Tuesday to vote to extend the Bush tax rates for all but the highest earners before the end of the year — and to battle over the rest later.The Oklahoma Republican said in an interview with POLITICO that he believes such a vote would not violate Grover Norquist’s anti-tax pledge and that he’s not alone within Republican circles.
Hope and Exchange – The Feds Blame the States Over ObamaCare– ObamaCare is due to land in a mere 10 months—about 300 days—and the Administration is not even close to ready, so naturally the political and media classes are attacking the Governors and state legislators who decline to help out. Mostly Republicans, they’re facing a torrent of abuse in Washington and pressure from health lobbies at home.But the real story is that Democrats are reaping the GOP buy-in they earned. Liberals wanted government to re-engineer the entire health-care system and rammed the Affordable Care Act through on a party-line vote, not stopping to wonder whether it would work. Now that implementation is proving to be harder than advertised, they’re blaming the states for not making their jobs easier.
Senate Dems divided over cuts to benefit programs– Deep divisions among Senate Democrats over whether cuts to popular benefit programs like Medicare and Medicaid should be part of a plan to slow the government’s mushrooming debt pose a big obstacle to a deal for avoiding a potentially economy-crushing “fiscal cliff,” even if Republicans agree to raise taxes.Much of the focus during negotiations seeking an alternative to $671 billion in automatic tax increases and spending cuts beginning in January has centered on whether Republicans would agree to raising taxes on the wealthy. President Barack Obama has insisted repeatedly that tax increases on the wealthy must be part of any deal, even as White House officials concede that government benefit programs will have to be in the package too.”It is the president’s position that when we’re talking about a broad, balanced approach to dealing with our fiscal challenges, that that includes dealing with entitlements,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said Tuesday.
Watch What Warren Buffett Does, Not What He Says– That last point is key: When taxes change, would-be investors will certainly change their decisions about where to direct capital, even “though the companies’ operating economics will not have changed adversely at all.” Buffett saw this clearly in 1986, with respect to Berkshire’s own investment decisions; it’s hard to believe that Buffett no longer believes that today, with respect to private investors.Now, none of this is to say that the capital-allocation effects of tax changes ultimately require the nation to forego tax reforms that would increase certain tax revenues. But it certainly is one consideration that must be kept in mind. When Buffett and others simply assert that tax increases don’t affect investment decisions, they’re whistling past the graveyard.
Image Problem – Republicans have a shot at improving their luck at the polls in 2014, but first they have to find a way to boost their brand appeal– Of the 13 Republican-held seats up in 2014, only one is in a state that Obama carried: Susan Collins in Maine. Indeed, Obama wasn’t even close in any GOP-held seats in other states. Other than Maine, the best Obama performances were minus 13 points in Alabama (Jeff Sessions), minus eight in Georgia (Saxby Chambliss), minus 12 in Mississippi (Thad Cochran), and minus 12 in South Carolina (Lindsey Graham). The other states ranged from minus 16 in Texas (John Cornyn) to minus 32 in Idaho (James Risch) and minus 34 in Oklahoma (James Inhofe).Conversely, Democrats have three seats up in 2014 in states that Obama lost by more than 15 points: minus 17 points in Louisiana (Mary Landrieu), minus 24 in Arkansas (Mark Pryor), and minus 27 in West Virginia (Jay Rockefeller). It should be noted that six-term Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., announced her candidacy on Monday at the State Capitol in Charleston.In three more 2014 Democratic Senate states, Obama lost by at least five but less than 15 points: minus 11 in South Dakota (Tim Johnson) and minus 13 in both Alaska (Mark Begich) and Montana (Max Baucus). Former South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds started an exploratory committee in September and is expected to challenge Johnson.There are three more 2014 Democratic Senate seats up in swing states, defined as such due to 2012 margins of five points or less: Obama minus two in North Carolina (Kay Hagan), plus three in Virginia (Mark Warner), and plus five in Colorado (Mark Udall).That’s nine Democratic seats that are either in demonstrably swing states or in enemy territory. This also does not take into account some states that were on the bubble: Obama won Iowa (Tom Harkin) and New Hampshire (Jeanne Shaheen) by just six points each.
The remarkable thing about Senate Democrats in 2012 was their ability to go on the offensive while, by necessity, playing defense. That will be much more difficult to replicate in 2014 given the seats up that cycle.
Amazon.com to build third California distribution center– Internet retailer Amazon.com — after years of avoiding having any physical presence in California — is planning to open a third massive distribution center in the Golden State.The new operation is in Tracy, a distant bedroom community for the San Francisco Bay Area south of Sacramento. The facility will be only about 30 miles from a second Amazon center being built in Patterson to the south.Last month, the Seattle company cut the ribbon on a 950,000-square-foot facility in the city of San Bernardino, which started filling orders before the holiday shopping season.
The Fiscal Cliff Is A Sideshow: It’s The Economy, Not The Budget, Stupid– Recently, using the comforting, measured and boring tones perfected by Alan Greenspan, Chairman Bernanke in a speech to the New York Economic Club observed that the best of the policy options open to us might lead us back to our economic potential by 2018. Apart from the idea that we can’t have our economy back for maybe six more years, at least three things in his speech are cause for profound worry no matter how analgesic the language is meant to sound.The presidential campaign drove the first and most serious point home. No one seems to have any sense of urgency regarding growth. The “guild” economists who advised both sides focused more on blaming various actors for why the recession won’t end rather than showing any sense of the profound costs of what a lost decade of growth means to America. President Obama’s “George did it” narrative met Mitt Romney’s mantra of “Obama doesn’t know anything about business.” Romney’s feint at growth sure sounded more like “I can manage better.”
Red State’s Erick Erickson mulls Chambliss challenge– In a 900-word indictment of Sen. Saxby Chambliss, RedState editor and CNN contributor Erick Erickson described the Georgia Republican Tuesday as “waffling around like a dog off its leash for the first time.”Referring to Chambliss’s recent comment that he is more worried about the fiscal cliff than adhering to his anti-tax pledge, Erickson wrote:Everyone knows that Saxby meant he was happy to raise taxes. Now, under pressure back home, he is waffling. He covets his seat in Washington and is fearful of being primaries. Georgia has primary run-offs, whichs means he can be taken out. He cannot bring himself to say he wants to raise revenue through changing in the tax code that will cause taxes to go up, so he dances around. Behind the scenes, we all know he will work to structure a proposal that increases taxes on Americans, but he’ll cleverly make sure there are enough votes so he can vote against it. He is active and has been actively complicit with Mark Warner (D, VA) and others on raising taxes.
Bankrupt San Bernardino cuts $26 million, tries to stay afloat– Saying it had little choice, the San Bernardino City Council voted to cut $26 million in spending in an effort to keep the bankrupt city from dissolving and being governed by the county.The city is already in bankruptcy proceedings and facing a $45.8-million budget shortfall. The $26 million in cuts will help the troubled city stay afloat.The austerity plan is a required step in the federal bankruptcy process. It freezes vacancies in the Police Department even as the city deals with an increase in violent crime. The Fire Department’s overtime budget also was slashed by 35%.
President 2012: The New Electoral Math, and What It Means for Polling– The exit pollsters asked which was the most important candidate quality – vision for the future (29%), shares my values (27%), cares about people like me (21%), and strong leader (18%).Mitt Romney won three of the four qualities. Voters who selected vision opted for Romney 54%-45%. Those who picked values preferred Romney 55%-42%. Voters focused on strong leadership opted for Romney 61%-38%. Romney lost 18%-81% among voters who said “cares about people like me” to Barack Obama.Thus, Romney controlled leadership, vision, and values, yet still lost, because he got blown out on the empathy dimension. This may well have been the first Presidential election where the winner on leadership lost the election anyhow. Prior to the election, if you had said that Romney would win among the 74% of voters choosing those three qualities and would still lose overall, you would not have been believed.Also, asked which of four was the most important issue, an overwhelming 59% picked the economy. Romney won those voters 51%-47%. Thus, he won the most important issue, but still lost the election.But the demographics are even more concerning for the GOP down the road. Here are some of the stunning demographic findings from the exit polls about the Presidential election:
Mitt Romney won Independents by five points. That’s better than George W. Bush in 2004 by six net points (see more on that below).
Mitt Romney won middle income voters ($50-100k) by six points. George W. Bush won them by twelve points in 2004, but there were far fewer voters earning more than $100k in the 2004 election (18%) than in 2012 (28%).
Mitt Romney won white women by 56%-42% (the “war on women” is overstated; Romney got crushed with minority women but a fourteen point win is not exactly a decisive defeat with white women).
George W. Bush won white women by eleven points in 2004, a net three points weaker than Romney.
Mitt Romney won white voters by 59%-39%, which is better than George W. Bush in 2004 by three net points.
Mitt Romney won voters age 40+ by five points. There is no direct comparison to Bush in 2004, but Bush did win voters 45+ by five points.
So, Romney won many of the groups that are generally considered to be the ones to decide elections – Independents, white women (by double digits), middle income, and voters age 40+. Mitt Romney put together a coalition that just eight years ago would have won the presidential election (hence the data comparisons to George W. Bush). However, instead of whites being 77% of the electorate, they were 72% of the electorate. Instead of Republicans and Democrats being equal, Democrats far outnumbered Republicans, and washed out Romney’s advantage among Independents. Bush kept it close with younger voters (under age 40), while Obama won them decisively.
Why Republicans should have won the election (and why they didn’t)– The math, according to Bolger, is determinative. There are simply more Democrats than Republicans in the country — as we have noted before, the consistency of Democrats’ party ID edge is striking — and that means that winning independents is no longer the whole shebang for the GOP. Neither is winning the white vote since it’s hard to imagine a Democratic candidate sinking significantly lower than 39 percent among that voting bloc in future elections. (The white vote for Democratic presidential candidates has also been very consistent; since 1992, no Democratic nominee has received less than 39 percent or more than 43 percent of the white vote.)Concludes Bolger: “Thus, to have a chance, Republicans have to appeal to Hispanics. It’s simple math, but it’s hard to do. We have to start today.”He’s absolutely right — on both fronts. (Hell, we devoted an entire chapter in “The Gospel According to the Fix” to Republicans’ Hispanic problem and how it will doom them as a national party unless they can solve it.)
How Senate Republicans could get tripped up again in 2014 (and how they are trying not to)– Welcome to the 2014 cycle, where most of the early rumblings in the Senate landscape have involved the prospect of Republican infighting. And, after back-to-back cycles in which flawed nominees in Nevada, Missouri, Colorado, Indiana and Delaware cost Republicans dearly, national strategists are already working to prevent history from repeating itself.The question is how.Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) will be the next chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee and will be faced with the task of recruiting better candidates and cultivating a better relationship with conservative groups.“Unless the party is planning to get behind principled, grassroots conservatives, they’re going to continue to run into a fierce headwind,” said SCF Executive Director Matt Hoskins.One of Moran’s vice chairs will be Sen.-elect Ted Cruz of Texas, the shining star of the conservative grassroots this cycle who overcame the odds to defeat heavily favored Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst (R) in a GOP primary/runoff. Part of Cruz’s role at the committee, according to a Republican familiar with NRSC strategy, will be to act as a go-between with conservative groups like the Club and SCF, both of which backed his candidacy this year.
Rand Paul warns GOP ‘in danger of becoming a dinosaur’– Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) urged the Republican party to adopt a more libertarian approach to policy in order to avoid becoming “a dinosaur.”Paul, the libertarian-leaning senator, was speaking in an interview with CNN on Tuesday.”I think my party, the Republican Party, is shrinking. We’re in danger of becoming a dinosaur,” Paul said. “We’re not competitive on the West Coast, we’re not competitive in New England.”
GOP lawmakers float immigration reform plan– Saying they want to get the conversation on immigration reform started, top Senate Republicans on Tuesday introduced a version of the so-called “Dream Act” to grant young illegal immigrants legal status in the US, though not giving them a special path to citizenship.GOP Sens. Jon Kyl and Kay Bailey Hutchison said they have introduced a bill that would reward those who take college classes or join the military.“We have got to get this ball rolling,” said Mr. Kyl, an Arizona Republican who is retiring this year. “We have to have a discussion that is sensible, that is calm.”Their bill would be more limited than the proposals Democrats have sought, which would have been more generous with a path to citizenship and broader in the number of immigrants it would apply to. But Ms. Hutchison, Texas Republican, said she and Mr. Kyl have tried to accommodate some Democratic lawmakers’ concerns.
The legislation would reward students with higher status the further along they are in pursuing their education. Those who earn a four-year college degree or complete military service could apply for a permanent visa that wouldn’t put them on a new path to citizenship, but would allow them to join existing lines by getting married to a U.S. citizen or finding another opportunity to adjust their status.
These are my links for November 9th through November 13th:
David Petraeus sex scandal: FBI agent who began probing disgraced spy chief allegedly sent shirtless photos of himself to whistleblower Jill Kelley– David Petraeus’stunning downfall took another salacious turn Monday as it was revealed the FBI agent who began investigating the disgraced spy chief allegedly sent shirtless photos of himself to the woman who sparked the probe.The unnamed agent was a friend of Jill Kelley, the raven-haired knockout whom Petraeus biographer Paula Broadwell jealously suspected of having the hots for the former CIA director, The Wall Street Journal reported.Broadwell bombarded Kelley with anonymous, threatening emails accusing her of having a relationship with the spy chief, with whom she had previously had an extramarital affair. In one email, Broadwell “claimed to have watched Ms. Kelley touching ‘him’ provocatively underneath a table,” according to the paper.The get-away-from-my-man emails so unnerved Kelley that she complained to an FBI pal of hers. But as the investigation gained momentum, the FBI agent who knew Kelley was taken off of the case by superiors who were worried “he might have grown obsessed with the matter,” the paper reported.
And it appeared their concern was justified.
Jerry Brown delivers with Proposition 30– Voters approved Jerry Brown’s $6billion tax hike last week because California has changed and Brown hasn’t. Lots of help from organized labor didn’t hurt.First, give the governor his due. In a state that spawned the tax revolt 34 years ago, Proposition 30’s passage by what could end up being 10 percentage points is an extraordinary turn of events.Issues win and lose for many reasons. In this instance, the right salesman made the right pitch, and the opposition stumbled. The governor and his consultants understood the electorate and gave voters what they wanted.Brown’s message, ultimately, was simple: Government has made cuts. School kids have suffered. A “yes” vote would allow California to begin restoring public education and other services, and bring the budget into balance.
GOP Grapples With Embarrassing Polling Failures– In the weeks before Election Day, both Republicans and Democrats were nervous about their poll numbers. Both sides of the aisle have smart pollsters, they reasoned, so how could the numbers that Democrats were seeing diverge so sharply from the numbers the Republicans were seeing? Deep down, I wrote at the time, both parties secretly worried that their side was missing the boat.Now we know which side needed its polls unskewed. Before Election Day, Republicans confidently predicted they would pick up seats in both chambers of Congress, and that Mitt Romney would win the White House. The results shattered those predictions, and with them any sense of security in the numbers coming out of some of the best-regarded polling firms on the right.”Everyone thought the election was going to be close. How did [Republicans] not know we were going to get our ass kicked?” lamented Rob Jesmer, head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. “I don’t understand how we didn’t know. That’s the part that’s most puzzling and frustrating and embarrassing.”The underlying causes of the errant numbers are the assumptions that the pollsters made about the nature of the electorate. Most pollsters believed the electorate would look something like the voters who turned out in 2008, just with slightly lower numbers of African-Americans, younger people, and Hispanics heading to the polls.
But exit polls actually showed a much more diverse electorate than the one forecast. Black turnout stayed consistent with 2008, Hispanic turnout was up, and younger voters made up a higher percentage of the electorate than they had four years ago. White voters made up 72 percent of the electorate, according to the exits, down 2 points from 2008 and a continuation of the two-decade long decline in their share of the electorate.
That meant that even though Mitt Romney scored 59 percent of the white vote — a higher percentage than George W. Bush won in 2000 and 2004, higher than Ronald Reagan in 1980 and matching George H.W. Bush’s 1988 score, when he won 426 electoral votes in 40 states — it wasn’t enough to overcome the 80 percent support that Obama scored among nonwhite voters.
Jindal, Paul call for populist, smart GOP– Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul told Politico in separate interviews Monday that the Republican Party must be the Party of the people, with the aim of increasing freedoms, not the other way around.“We’ve got to make sure that we are not the party of big business, big banks, big Wall Street bailouts, big corporate loopholes, big anything,” Jindal said. “We cannot be, we must not be, the party that simply protects the rich so they get to keep their toys.”He asserted the GOP doesn’t have to retreat from the matters of abortion and gay marriage, though he advised them to ease their tone and rhetoric.“It is no secret we had a number of Republicans damage our brand this year with offensive, bizarre comments — enough of that,” Jindal said. “It’s not going to be the last time anyone says something stupid within our party, but it can’t be tolerated within our party.”
An injection of intelligence and specificity is in order, instead of “dumbed-down conservatism,” he added, urging “the party of ideas, details and intelligent solutions” to end the tactic of “reducing everything to mindless slogans, tag lines, 30-second ads that all begin to sound the same.”
“We need to stop being simplistic, we need to trust the intelligence of the American people and we need to stop insulting the intelligence of the voters,” Jindal said.
He added: “Simply being the anti-Obama party didn’t work. You can’t beat something with nothing. The reality is we have to be a party of solutions and not just bumper-sticker slogans but real detailed policy solutions.”
Exit polls skip Texas, missing key demographic data– Everyone is looking for bipartisan agreement in the aftermath of the election, and we’ve found a rare example of it. Sen.-elect Ted Cruz, a Republican, recently said this to the New Yorker about his state of Texas: “If Republicans do not do better in the Hispanic community, in a few short years Republicans will no longer be the majority party in our state.” And President Obama, a Democrat, put it this way at a Texas fundraiser in May: “You’re not considered one of the battleground states, although that’s going to be changing soon.”Unfortunately, the news media evidently don’t agree that big changes are underway in Texas. Ahead of last week’s election, the National Election Pool — which does exit polls for the Associated Press and the news networks — announced it would not be conducting full state-level surveys in 19 states, including Texas.Certainly, there are many states where this money-saving omission makes sense. But by omitting Texas, even while polling in politically settled states like Illinois, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey and New York, the exit pollsters pre-emptively missed the biggest story of the election — the continued shift of Hispanic voters back toward Democrats since the George W. Bush era.
GOP and Immigration: The Grover Plan: More Cowbell!– We’ll dilute our way out of it! Republicans did poorly among Hispanics last week. How to address that problem? The answer, they’re told by Washington savants, is to back an immigration reform that … increases the number of Hispanics! It’s a plan so crazy it just might be crazy.Joshua Culling, who works for Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform, elaborates on the plan elsewhere on this site. It turns out the idea–let’s call it the Grover Plan, just to be annoying–isn’t as wacky as I you might think. It’s wackier.Suppose Republicans conspire with Dems to bring amnesty to the 10 or 11 million unauthorized immigrants who are already here. Eventually they become citizens. Will they be ready to wipe the slate clean and vote Republican? Or will the Dems figure out new ways to gin up their ethnic base at election time? Cullings denies they’ll be able to do that–at least by “promising direct subsidies to immigrants or an expanded welfare state:”
Own It: Comcast’s NBCUniversal unit lays off 500 employees– Comcast Corp’s NBCUniversal entertainment unit is laying off about 500 employees at cable channels, Jay Leno’s late-night TV show and the Universal Pictures movie studio, a person with knowledge of the matter said on Monday.The cuts add up to about 1.5 percent of the company’s workforce of 30,000 employees, the source said.A large portion of the layoffs occurred at the G4 cable channel, a network about video games and the gaming culture, the source said. Two of the network’s shows were recently canceled.
No Meat on Mondays in Los Angeles = Meatless Mondays to Save the Planet– The Los Angeles City Council is urging all residents to observe “meatless Mondays” from now on.A resolution adopted on Oct. 24 reads: “Be it resolved, that the Council of the City of Los Angeles hereby declares all Mondays as ‘Meatless Mondays’ in support of comprehensive sustainability efforts as well as to further encourage residents to eat a more varied plant-based diet to protect their health and protect animals.”Councilwoman Jan Perry, who introduced the resolution, also wants to ban new fast-food restaurants in South Los Angeles.”While this is a symbolic gesture, it is asking people to think about the food choices they make. Eating less meat can reverse some of our nation’s most common illnesses,” press reports quoted Perry as saying.
Sarah Westwood: Advice From a Lonely College Republican– If the election results told us anything, it’s that the GOP has some serious soul searching to do. On paper, Mitt Romney’s history of accomplishment towered over President Obama’s train wreck of a record, so his loss seemed nearly inexplicable. But Mr. Obama carried his key groups so easily that Republicans should give him props for such a feat— and start taking notes.In politics, as in life, perception is key. The Chicago machine and the Democratic National Committee as a whole have perfected the art of marketing, even when they’ve got nothing to sell. They’re like a used-car salesman who pushes lemons on unsuspecting drivers and never gets caught. Democrats can home in on Latinos, blacks, single women, young voters—and have them chanting “Four more years!” before they know what hit them.I happen to be one of the latter, a college student at a time when youth is a hot political commodity. Most kids my age bristle at the word “conservative,” and I don’t blame them. The right has done nothing to welcome young people.If Republicans hope to win in 2016 and beyond, they need to change everything about the way they sell themselves. They’re viewed by the 18-24 set as the “party of the rich” and as social bigots. That harsh, flawed opinion could be rectified if Republicans started presenting their positions in a different way. The GOP is like a supermodel who has been doing photo shoots under fluorescent bulbs without any makeup. But fix the lighting, dab on some foundation and highlight her good side, and she can take the most attractive picture.
The Republican Party’s Candidate Problem in Two Charts– Two days after a wholly disappointing election for the National Republican Senatorial Committee that saw the party not only fail to gain the majority but actually lose seats, a soul-searching of how it happened has begun.The blame, as it often is, has been thrust on the candidates. And, at least in this case, for good reason. After all, Richard Mourdock and Todd Akin essentially gave away seats with their comments on rape and pregnancy.But the trouble for the GOP wasn’t just in Indiana and Missouri.In fact, as the chart below details, Republican Senate candidates under-performed GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney in most of the important races of 2012.
California’s Liberal Supermajority – Taxpayers are going to get all the government they ever wanted– For Republicans unhappy with Tuesday’s election, we have good news—at least most of you don’t live in California. Not only did Democrats there win voter approval to raise the top tax rate to 13.3%, but they also received a huge surprise—a legislative supermajority. Look out below.The main check on Sacramento excess has been a constitutional amendment requiring a two-thirds majority of both houses to raise taxes. Although Republicans have been in the minority for four decades, they could impose a modicum of spending restraint by blocking tax increases. If Democratic leads stick in two races where ballots are still being counted, liberals will pick up enough seats to secure a supermajority. Governor Jerry Brown then will be the only chaperone for the Liberals Gone Wild video that is Sacramento.
Romney Failed to Make Sizeable Gains in Swing States – So why did Romney underperform in these swing states? It is hard to say for sure. The Obama team may have utilized more effective television ads. They may also have enjoyed a superior get-out-the-vote operation. There may have been idiosyncratic factors that limited Republican gains in these states. However, there is a good chance that this group of eight states will prove pivotal in future elections. As such, the Republicans party would do well to identify strategies for both mobilizing Republican voters and expanding the Republican base in these states.
Where Obama did better in 2012 than in 2008 (in one map)– President Obama was reelected on Tuesday, but he won by significantly smaller margins across the entire country — except for a handful of places.One of those places just happens to be the Eastern part of New Jersey, which was rocked by Hurricane Sandy a week before the election.Voters up and down the counties along the Jersey Shore and in the New York City area voted for Obama by more than they voted for him in 2008. Obama did better in 2012 in Ocean County, Middlesex County, Union County and Passaic County, along with nearby Richmond County, N.Y. — a.k.a. Staten Island.Here’s the map showing where Obama did better and worse
California Democrats amass control over unruly state – California Becomes a One Party State– Governor Jerry Brown and his Democratic allies on Tuesday won a mandate that might be the envy of President Barack Obama, turning the nation’s bluest state into one in which Democrats will likely have all but complete political control.Voters approved a tax hike championed by Brown and soundly rejected a measure that would have gutted union political power. Perhaps most importantly, if initial vote totals hold in several very close legislative races as the final absentee ballots are counted, they will have handed Democrats supermajority control of both houses of the state legislature for the first time in 79 years.rown, who largely failed to gain cooperation from Republicans over the last two years, now owns the field. He has the opportunity to overhaul the tax code, reform the Byzantine governmental processes that have hobbled Sacramento for decades, and even potentially touch the “third rail” of California politics, the low-property-tax measure known as Proposition 13.”I guess you might say it’s our time,” Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg told a news conference.
The ascendance of Democrats and their union backers may give more than a little pause to businesses and wealthy individuals, who now face higher taxes and the prospect of even more new taxes and regulations.
The state’s top personal income tax rate was already the second highest in the nation at 10.3 percent before Tuesday’s vote, and will now rise to 13.3 percent for the next seven years.
Obamacare Forever? – What Barack Obama’s second term means for the president’s signature health law– Since debate about health care reform began, voters have been consistently wary of the law that has become known as Obamacare; as of today, Pollster.com’s aggregate shows that 47.8 percent of the public opposes the law while just 39.2 percent approve. Yet in voting to give President Barack Obama a second term yesterday, America also implicitly voted to keep the health law that bears his name in place. So is Obamacare here to stay?Yes, at least for now. But big questions still remain. We know we’ll keep Obamacare on the books, at least for the foreseeable future. What we don’t know is whether it will work.That’s because the law still faces huge legal and logistical hurdles. Tops on the list are challenges to the law’s insurance exchanges, starting with a lawsuit filed by Oklahoma’s attorney general. That case, which revolves around legal problems examined in a paper by Case Western Reserve law professor Jonathan Adler and Cato Institute Health Policy Direct Michael Cannon, may decide whether employers in states that do not set up their own health insurance exchanges can be taxed under the law, as well as whether it is legal for the federal government to offer insurance subsidies through exchanges it runs in states that opt out. The law, which taxes employers that don’t offer insurance in order to fund those subsidies, states that subsidies are only available in state-run exchanges.If Oklahoma’s suit prevails, states will have a large incentive to opt out of creating exchanges in order to protect employers from the tax penalty. And the federal exchanges will be largely useless. “No one would go to those exchanges. The whole structure created by the health care reform law starts to fall apart,” Gretchen Young, senior vice president-health policy at the ERISA Industry Committee told Business Insurance.
TAPPER: And that’s not comparable to what Limbaugh said about Sandra Fluke?
MAHER: To compare that to Rush is ridiculous – he went after a
civilian about very specific behavior, that was a lie, speaking for a
party that has systematically gone after women’s rights all year, on
the public airwaves. I used a rude word about a public figure who
gives as good as she gets, who’s called people “terrorist” and
“unAmerican.” Sarah Barracuda. The First Amendment was specifically
designed for citizens to insult politicians. Libel laws were written
to protect law students speaking out on political issues from getting
called whores by Oxycontin addicts.
TAPPER: What about all the clips of you saying rather “edgy” things –
offensive to many people, no doubt – from your show on HBO, “Real
MAHER: Of course if you take out of context over 10 years snippets
inside comedy bits you can make anyone look bad – and sometimes, I
have been! Not perfect, but not misogyny. In general, this is an
obvious right wing attempt to dredge up some old shit about me to
deflect from their self-inflicted problems. They are the kings of
And through it all, I have defended Rush’s right to stay on the air!
Not what he said, that was disgusting – but the right to not disappear
because people who don’t even listen to you don’t like what you said.
That really bothers me. I never hear Rush Limbaugh unless a guy in the
next truck at a stop light has it on; it would be arrogant for me to
say “he has to disappear” and deprive the people who do listen to him
of what they like. We all have different tastes and different
opinions, that’s America.
Why Ron Paul May Cut a Deal With Mitt Romney – For Ron Paul, victory is finally in sight. No, not a swearing-in ceremony next January 20, or even a single statewide win. Halfway through the primary season, Paul has won only a preference poll in the U.S. Virgin Islands, and he is running dead last in delegates among the four GOP candidates for President. He has spent a lot, if not always wisely: the $31.55 he has dropped per vote (more than even Mitt Romney) is a sum that might shock even a Democrat.
But winning the presidency was never Paul’s foremost goal, and as he nears the end of his last presidential crusade, he has one more chance to promote his ideas. The Republican race is a muddled mess. Even after his southern losses, only Romney has a real shot at amassing the 1,144 delegates required to wrap up the nomination, and he would then face the task of unifying the GOP’s warring factions. Which is why Paul’s campaign has sent discreet signals to Camp Romney that the keys to Paul’s shop can be had for the right price.
They include Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour, media mogul Fred Eychaner, Pfizer executive Sally Susman, Stoneyfield Farms president and CEO Gary Hirschberg, and Microsoft executives Suzi Levine and John Frank. Several have each raised more than half a million dollars for 2012, according to estimates provided by Obama’s campaign.
His writings showed clearly that the latter was the path he chose. His previous writings had been those of a sensible man saying sensible things about civil rights issues that he understood from his years of experience as an attorney. But now he wrote all sorts of incoherent speculations and pronouncements, the main drift of which was that white people were the cause of black people’s problems.
Bell even said that he took it as his mission to say things to annoy white people. Perhaps he thought that was better than being insignificant in his academic setting. But it was in fact far worse, because the real damage was to impressionable young blacks who took him seriously, including one who went on to become President of the United States.
The Tea Party has drowned – The Tea Party is over. In the way of parties that end, there are still people around. Those who remain search for a return of the old energy and make unconvincing demonstrations of people having a good time. But the central focus, the excitement, the purpose of the thing is dissipating. That is because the bad stuff that its members and boosters put out — lies, slanders, paranoia, ignorance — is losing what grip it had over the minds of people with minds. What’s left, though, is something else, which will not go away: the identification of moral choices blurred and contemporary indifferences ignored.
GRAPH: The escalating cost of Obamacare – So I’ve created the updated graph below. Notice how low the numbers are in the 2010 to 2013 time period and how they quickly soar. All the spending to the right of the black line wasn’t reflected in the CBO’s estimate for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) at the time of passage.