Monday, March 4, 2013

Read Stuff, You Should

Happy Birthday to Sergio Romo, 30.

Plenty of good stuff:

1. All about Sylvia Mathews Burwell, who will reportedly be nominated to fill the vacancy at OMB that's been there for over a year. From Dylan Mathews. My reaction: if all goes well with her stint at OMB, she would be a logical short-list candidate for a future White House Chief of Staff opening.

2. Do Republican Party taboos wind up just transferring more influence to...Barack Obama? Dave Weigel makes the case.

3. Health care and sequestration, from Sarah Kliff.

4. Sean Trende makes the case for why sequestration politics may favor Republicans

5. And I loved this one: Annie Lowrey on the people who actually think Congress is doing a good job.


  1. Thanks for the link to the Trende article. I always appreciate his analysis. It's been interesting reading partisan folks try and game out the sequester as a political event... how will it impact voters? The talking points I saw this weekend associated with GOP leaders were especially crass: they pointed out that spending cuts were going to affect the "Obama coalition" of voters more directly, therefore ("hopefully" not the word used, but implied) causing them to stay home on election day in frustration and disillusionment. I read some of those statements in utter bewilderment, along with their more general message of "spending cuts won't be that bad." I guess they're figuring that their voters won't be as effected by the spending cuts, and therefore will come to view those cuts as a GOP victory? And then, of course, they'll be willing to vote for even more spending cuts by supporting GOPers? I guess it's possible... it just seems like a really narrow strategy. What if TSA lines do get insanely long? What if food prices rise (because less food inspectors = less food available = demand pushes prices up)? What if GOP voters in Virginia are hit hard by the defense cuts? I guess my point is, why is the GOP so eager to position themselves as saying, "The spending cuts won't be that bad," when they don't really know what the effect of them will be yet? Meanwhile, Obama is "campaigning" across the country attacking the spending cuts and demanding a "balanced approach." That puts his party in position to 1) drive Democrat and Democrat-leaning voters to the polls in '14 out of anger against Republicans, and/or 2) reach out to Republican-leaning voters who might be effected by the spending cuts. I don't know if the Democrats will be successful with that effort (I bet political scientists would have a better idea than me). But at least it's a better position than being pro-cuts before the effects of them have been felt.

    1. Trende's conclusion seems very nicely put: "The president’s hand here might be stronger relative to the Republicans, but it isn’t particularly strong in absolute terms, and it is the president’s hand that really matters for elections. That’s something that should worry Democrats more than it appears to."

    2. I think what Trende forces himself to overlook is the same thing he forced himself to overlook in the '12 general election: the GOP is staking out an unpopular position. Maybe something will save them... Maybe Obamacare's rollout will be disasterous. Maybe a real Obama scandal will finally emerge. But if they're betting on the sequester being unpopular and hurting Obama, I think they're making a serious mistake

  2. So, Burwell's heroes are Robert Rubin, who led the charge on deregulating banks, and Erskine Bowles? How encouraging! And ties to Wal-Mart? Do you suppose the army will be buying its supplies and spare parts from China soon?

    1. Still impressive to see how Rubin commands respect and influence within the Democratic party. He keeps getting his thankful followers in influential positions almost 15 years after he's been gone from government.


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