Saturday, November 24, 2012

What Mattered This Week?

A quiet week in domestic politics, so I suppose I'll go with the ceasefire in Gaza. No, it almost certainly didn't mean that a real solution to the underlying situation is at hand, but anytime people avoid a disastrous escalation it's probably a good thing, no?

I don't really have much for the didn't matter side of things, but I suppose I can mention the idea of eliminating the Ames Straw Poll, which I wrote about yesterday over at Greg's place.

But I was traveling, and so I may have missed all sorts of things. What do you have? What do you think mattered this week?

12 comments:

  1. Morsi appearing to take near dictatorial powers for himself appears to matter in as important a state as Egypt. Although I wonder if there is more contact going on between Morsi and the White House/Foggy Bottom, or between the Pentagon and the Egyptian military.

    What doesn't matter is that last week in this feature I thought the Republican party might be thinking at last. But given the new posturing by Boehner about putting Obamacare on the table in debt reduction talks - I'm leaning back to the crazies in the caucus cuckolding Orange Johnny again. Driving off the fiscal curb seems more likely every day.

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    1. I disagree that this is a crazy move. This looks more like a smart tactical gambit. The GOP will be giving in on the tax hikes (rate increases or deduction caps), and they want to get some concession in return. If they only ask for one reasonable thing, they're likely to get it at half-measure. If they ask for two reasonable things, they're more likely to get one whole concession instead of just a half concession.

      I think the Dems will keep Obamacare, but make more budget cuts in order to keep it. This was a shrewd move by Boehner. He's managing the negotiation better than last year.

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    2. Nah. House GOP pass an extension of the Bush tax cuts with slight tax increases on the rich, paired with Obamacare repeal-lite. Senate Dems pass the same bill minus Obamacare cuts and with bigger tax increases. It goes into conference, and they bicker until January. Both blame each other, but Republicans get more blame. Obama isn't badly affected by the bickering, and publicly pushes for his own tax cut plan. House GOP eventually folds and gets to work on some nonsense Obama impeachment.

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    3. @Anon, two predictions. After this plays out, we will see who is closer, though it may not be definitive.

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    4. I'm not saying Boehner is crazy, just that (on further review) I don't think he's going to be able to bring his caucus along in a compromise deal with Obama, and he's not going to make a lame-duck deal that involves more Pelosi votes than he can get himself. (That would be a death-knell for his speakership in the new Congress)

      Better for Boehner to fight until we go off the Fiscal Curb, and he lives to fight again in January after the inauguration.

      As for the eventual deal, I think Obama will hold out for a top-rate hike just to make the point that tax rates can be raised. The indiscriminate defense cuts from the sequester appear to be an easy 'give' that offer Republicans something to boast about/save face with in a final deal. If Obama makes some actual hard compromises, it will involve new infrastructure/stimulus spending being made available and/or diffusing the debt limit suicide bomb threat for the foreseeable future.

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    5. Hear about Lindsay Graham's new idea? He's open to raising taxes on the wealthy but only if Obama agrees to cut Social Security and Medicare. What struck me about his comments was that, like Boehner's attempt to "put Obamacare back on the table," it doesn't seem like this positions the GOP in a way where they can effectively put blame on Obama and the Democrats when January 1st arrives. It's never very popular to talk about cutting entitlements... trying to create a choice between entitlement cuts or lower taxes on the wealthy is probably a good way to make entitlement cuts even less popular. The best scenario for Obama that I can imagine is that the public perceives him as trying hard to make a deal, and the GOP being so unreasonable that when January 1st hits without an agreement the Republicans get the lion share of the blame. And, from my perspective, the Republicans seem to be blundering into that scenario. What's going on with their party? Is Graham trying to convince the Koch brothers not to primary him next year? Is Boehner afraid that members of his caucus might say even worse things if the GOP leadership doesn't make foolish statements like "put Obamacare back on the table?" I guess I just don't have enough information to know what's going on with the Republican party.

      BTW, Graham spent the rest of his time on the Sunday morning programs attacking Susan Rice over Benghazi. A winning issue, as Romney proved in the second debate. What is the GOP doing? It's incredible to watch.

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  2. If he wants to, Morsi may easily become the new dictator. But the judges he's fighting are a leftover element from the old dictatorship and it showed - they found it OK to dissolve the newly elected parliament without calling for new elections, while leaving the power of the military heads in place was apparently no problem.

    Still, unlimited power is very addictive - even if Morsi didn't want it at the beginning, he may want to keep it now.

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  3. Walmart strikes might matter, or might be indicators of a larger trend.

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  4. We won't know if this matters for perhaps a few weeks, but the NPR story quoting a NASA scientist suggesting that new data from the Mars Rover could prove historic. In context, he could only be talking about evidence of life, or constituents of life. In which case, it's the biggest news story in history, which might break (if it's true) around the winter solstice holidays.

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    1. That is so awesome.

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    2. Mars.

      What we don't want happening to Earth.

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    3. I sure hope it's not evidence of the Martian Mayans sending an ancient space vehicle to Earth because their calendar said that life on Mars was about to end.

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