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Posts Tagged ‘GOP’

Dear John (Boehner)

November 12th, 2013

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Dear Speaker Boehner,

I know you’re having a really rough fall, and you may be sitting in your office right now, wistfully wishing the holiday recess would arrive. But the Senate has just passed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, a bill that would protect LGBT Americans from being fired because of who they are. And you can bring ENDA up for a vote without facing shutdown-style fallout — instead just skipping straight to the standing ovation. Here’s why:

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Post shutdown: Time for recriminations

October 18th, 2013

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Recriminations!

It’s a familiar ritual in Washington every time a party loses a battle or a candidate loses an election. Only this time, it could lead to something more serious: A split in the Republican Party.

The most severe recriminations are aimed at the Tea Party. Why did they take on a fight they were certain to lose? And without any endgame or exit strategy? Don’t they understand how politics works?

Here’s the answer: No.

Or rather, they do understand how politics works — and they reject it. The United States has a Constitution that divides power. The only way anything gets done is through deal-making and compromise. It’s been that way for 225 years.  (See the movie Lincoln for a good example).

The Tea Party doesn’t play by those rules. To them, compromise means selling out. They won’t make deals. It’s got to be either victory or defeat. In this case, it was defeat.

But it was a glorious defeat, and they are proud of it. It was their Alamo.  “We’re going to start this all over again,” Representative John Fleming (R-La.) told the New York Times.  Representative Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.) said to the Washington Post, “We are waiting around for another battle over Obamacare.”  After all, six weeks after the Alamo disaster, the Texas army routed the Mexicans at the Battle of San Jacinto.  Their battle cry: “Remember the Alamo.”

Soon we will start hearing “Remember the Shutdown!”

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Can Christie tackle the partisan divide?

June 10th, 2013

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How often these days do we see a political figure liked by both Republicans and Democrats? Not so often that we should fail to notice.

But there was the evidence last week in two different polls. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie drew a 58 percent favorable rating from his fellow Republicans around the country and 52 percent from Democrats in a recent Gallup Poll. Forty percent of Republicans in the NBC News-Wall Street Journal poll, and 43 percent of Democrats, said they like Christie. (The NBC-Journal numbers are a bit lower because the poll offered a “neutral” option.)

Christie seems headed for a big re-election victory in New Jersey this November. Polls show him running 30 points ahead of his Democratic opponent. This is in a state that has voted Democratic in every presidential election since 1992.

The country has now had four presidents in a row who promised to heal the bitter division between red and blue America. They all failed. Under each successive president – George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama – the partisan divide has gotten worse.

Obama has proved that nice doesn’t work. He tried to make deals with Republican leaders. He tried a charm offensive with rank-and-file Republican legislators. All he got in return was insults and investigations. Now it’s “No more Mr. Nice Guy.” With his latest round of appointments to his national security team as well as the courts, Obama has given up trying to satisfy Republicans. His new message: “In your face.”

But Obama’s got a long way to go before he can match Christie for “in your face” politics. Christie is the un-Obama.  He doesn’t look like Obama, and he certainly doesn’t act like Obama. Christie doesn’t trade on being nice. He busts heads.

He also speaks Jersey. When he was challenged by property owners who complained that he intended to build attractions rather than storm protection on the Jersey shore, Christie shouted back, “That’s bullsh*t!” (After advising children to cover their ears.)

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In Search of the Next Crisis

May 13th, 2013

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The deficit is going down. Woo-hoo!  Let the celebrations begin.

Oh, wait. That may not be altogether a good thing. Certainly not for Republicans. They need an out-of-control deficit to bludgeon Democrats into cutting more spending. It may not be good news for the economic recovery either. Budget austerity means slower growth. Want proof? Look at Europe.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that this year’s federal budget deficit will drop from $1.1 trillion to $845 billion. Economists at Goldman Sachs project that we will get the deficit under control within two years. Why is this happening?

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GOP: Blame message not the messenger

November 26th, 2012

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This piece was originally featured on Reuters.

Here’s what’s supposed to be happening: After losing two presidential elections, Republicans are supposed to be re-evaluating what their party stands for. Are they out of line with mainstream America? Does the party need to change?

The answer is yes. So the party moves to the center and searches for candidates with broader appeal. Republicans don’t need another spectacle like the 2012 primaries, where the contenders ran the gamut from a panderer to the right (Mitt Romney), to the far right (former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum), to the extreme right (Representative Michele Bachmann and Texas Governor Rick Perry), to the lunatic fringe (Herman Cain, Representative Ron Paul). Read the rest of this entry »

Mr. President, an idea on immigration

January 24th, 2012

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This piece currently appears on CNN.

Count on it. President Obama will devote three sentences to immigration reform in the State of the Union.

Two dozen lawmakers will jump to their feet and applaud. One-third of the audience will give an obligatory clap. The rest will sit silently, stifling a yawn.

Five years ago, comprehensive immigration reform legislation seemed possible and deeply bipartisan. Now it seems as unlikely and distant as President Bush’s mission to Mars. And as for bipartisan? In the last go around, a Republican president led the charge. Today, no serious GOP presidential aspirant has the guts to support reform—evidenced again last night as both front-runners promised in the Florida debate to veto even the initially-Republican authored DREAM Act, and Romney grasped for straws by suggesting “self-deportation.”

Can immigration reform be saved?

To read the rest of the piece, click here.