Reince Priebus at the Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus had this to say recently about the discussions about the GOP’s “war on women:”
If the Democrats said we had a war on caterpillars and every mainstream media outlet talked about the fact that Republicans have a war on caterpillars, then we’d have problems with caterpillars. It’s a fiction.
I love how these Republican tactics to try to dismiss this conversation as silly further trivialize the issues that women care about and keep digging themselves deeper into this hole of voter abandonment.
While we’re at it, here are a few examples of just how nonfictional this situation is.
Senate Democrats are preparing a legislative agenda to complement the vision President Obama outlined in his State of the Union Address. The goal is to test the idea that the public supports aggressive federal action on behalf of the middle class.
The push is premised on the notion that keeping issues of equity and opportunity for the middle class at the center of the debate will rebound to Democrats’ political benefit by breaking the GOP or by putting them on the wrong side of public opinion.
In a consequential election year, it will take a lot of political pressure to force either party to work with the other, so expect the Democrats to hawk these issues relentlessly.
Congress will have to clear its plate of the payroll tax cut issue. After that, Senate Democrats plan a push on issues with public support, knowing Republicans have left themselves little space to work with Democrats and lack the leverage they’d need to change the subject.
The caucus hasn’t decided what precise reforms to push. Some think that now would be an ideal time to take on the expiring Bush tax cuts, to renew the cuts for all income under one million dollars and let that new top bracket return to its Clinton-era rates. Others would like to see a broader reform premised on the Buffett rule.
Mitt Romney will be in the eye of the coming Democratic storm. There is an appetite in the Democratic party for closing the “carried interest” loophole that allows Mr. Romney to pay so little in taxes.
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In his third State of the Union address, President Obama said the “defining issue of our time” is how to keep the American dream alive:
We can either settle for a country where a shrinking number of people do really well, while a growing number of Americans barely get by. Or we can restore an economy where everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules.
What’s at stake are not Democratic values or Republican values, but American values. We have to reclaim them.
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The Supreme Court on Friday rejected elections maps drawn by a federal court in Texas that had favored Democratic candidates there.
The unanimous decision said that redistricting is a job for elected state officials, and that the lower court had not paid enough deference to maps drawn by the State Legislature, which Republicans control. The justices sent the case back to the lower court.
The maps to be drawn by the lower court could play a role in determining control of the House of Representatives. Democrats need twenty-five seats to take back the House from Republican control. Experts in election administration said the new maps could influence outcomes in perhaps three Texas districts.
The changes to the electoral maps were required because Texas grew by more than four million people in the last decade. The growth entitled the state to four more House seats.
Justice Clarence Thomas concurred only in the result and said he would have instructed the elections to go ahead under the Legislature’s maps.
The justices acted eleven days after arguments. Primaries in Texas had been moved back to April. For those primaries to go ahead, an answer was needed by February 1.
Much of the language in the Supreme Court’s opinion was conditional, and its criticism of the lower court was mostly indirect.
Via The New York Times.
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A federal judge disclosed that former presidential candidate John Edwards has a life-threatening heart condition.
Edwards had sought a delay in his criminal corruption trial, scheduled to begin later this month.
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In a recent L.A. Times op-ed, a woman who was so upset with President Obama for having “let down the struggling middle class” that she switched her registration to “Independent,” is apologizing to the President. She says that while she was angered by Pres. Obama’s plan, she’s come to appreciate it now that she’s benefitting from it.
Two years ago, Spike Dolomite Ward and her husband had to choose between paying their mortgage or keeping their health insurance. They kept the house. Now, Ms. Ward has been diagnosed with breast cancer. She didn’t know how she’d afford treatment until she discovered the Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan, which is part of Pres. Obama’s healthcare plan. Now she’s publicly “outed” herself in the hopes that she can teach health care reform opponents that the uninsured aren’t just lazy freeloaders. She writes:
What I want people to understand is that, if this could happen to us, it could happen to anybody. If you are fortunate enough to still be employed and have insurance through your employers, you may feel insulated from the sufferings of people like me right now. But things can change abruptly. If you still have a good job with insurance, that doesn’t mean that you’re better than me, more deserving than me or smarter than me. It just means that you are luckier. And access to healthcare shouldn’t depend on luck.
Ms. Ward’s right, and she deserves credit for admitting she was wrong. It’s just a shame that most people who are against enabling all Americans to have healthcare coverage won’t have a change of heart unless they’re put in a similarly horrible situation.
Filed under Health, Politics
When the debate over the payroll tax extension returns in February, more Americans have confidence in President Barack Obama and Congressional Democrats than in Republicans.
Forty-one percent expressed confidence in Pres. Obama and the Democrats, compared with 34% who told pollsters they think Republicans will better tackle the issue, a Gallup poll shows.
This edge is what Pres. Obama and the Democrats bank on during the showdown against House Speaker John Boehner and the Republicans in the House over the extension. Without it, 160 million Americans would have faced a payroll tax increase on January 1.
Meanwhile, 15% say they have no confidence in either party to handle the debate.
On partisan lines, 87% of Democrats trust Pres. Obama and their party leaders, just as 82% of Republicans are confident about the Republicans in Congress about the extension of payroll tax cuts and unemployment benefits. Independents favor Pres. Obama and the Democrats with 35%, while 27% say Republicans.
In another poll, 32% of Americans told Gallup that Obama’s job performance was excellent or good. Only 12% describe the Republicans in Congress as good or excellent.
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President Obama signed a two-month extension of the payroll tax cut Friday, according to a senior administration official.
Both chambers of Congress earlier Friday passed an amended version of the extension, handing Democrats a hard-fought victory on an issue.
The measure cleared the Senate and House by unanimous consent, a move allowing the measure to pass even though most members of Congress are home for the holidays.
The $33 billion measure includes a two-month extension of emergency federal unemployment benefits and the “doc fix,” a delay in pay cuts to Medicare physicians.
House and Senate members will resume negotiations on a year-long extension of the tax cut when Congress reconvenes in January.
The showdown over the payroll holiday extension eroded Republican strength on the issue of lower taxes. While Republican leaders questioned the merit of the tax holiday and later complained that a short-term extension would be more trouble than it’s worth, Pres. Obama used the standoff to portray Republicans as defenders of the rich.
President Barack Obama’s approval rating jumped five percentage points from November to December, according to a CNN/ORC International poll released today.
Pres. Obama’s approval rating rose from 44% to 49%. The results suggest the debate over extending the payroll tax cuts in Congress is helping Pres. Obama. The poll was conducted Friday through Sunday, while the Senate was passing the measure, and House Speaker John Boehner was giving it a dim outlook in his chamber.
Pres. Obama’s gains come at the expense of Republicans in Congress and in general; the party’s rating dropped six points, to 43%, since June. Democrats‘ rating has stayed at 55%.
A majority now say they have more confidence in Obama than in Republicans in Congress; last spring, only 44% felt that way.
Democrats do particularly well among middle-income Americans, while the Republicans win support only from the top end of the income scale.
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After votes Tuesday, the House will go into recess but return if the Senate agrees to come back into session and work out differences in extending the payroll tax cuts.
The Democratic-controlled Senate on Saturday passed a two-month extension of the tax cuts, which amount to $1,000 for the average American, and sent it to the Republican-controlled House for approval. Congressional and White House negotiators tried to work out a one-year extension, but the Senate fell back to the two-month extension to buy more time for more negotiations without the cuts expiring on December 31.
The House scheduled votes to reaffirm that it favors a yearlong extension, and that it wants the Senate to return. A vote scheduled for Monday night on the Senate’s plan was canceled.
Democratic leadership aides in the Senate insist they won’t negotiate until the House passes the two-month extension that the Senate passed with bipartisan support.