thedailybeast.com — In the wake of their decisive 2012 election defeat, Republicans aren’t digging the demographic changes making once safe states like Virginia go for Obama the last two presidential elections. Their response, as Michael Tomasky detailed yesterday, is to try and change the rules to allow electoral votes to be split up by congressional districts, compounding their advantage created by the rigged system of redistricting. In many of the states – Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Ohio – this is at the level of legislative discussion rather than action.This is an inversion of the basic principle of democracy: that elections are won by the candidate who gets the most votes. To add insult to the intended injury, Virginia humorist and political blogger Paul Bibeau pointed out that the bill would have the effect of making Obama voters count as three-fifths of a person.
prospect.org — That 400,000 votes separated Romney from the presidency is a quirk of our electoral system, and Republicans will mislead themselves if they focus on that number. Mitt Romney didn’t just lose to Obama in the 2012 presidential election: He underperformed. Exit polls provide a few clues about why voters rejected the Republican Party at all levels. If you weren’t well-off—if you were struggling—you didn’t vote for Romney; the GOP had nothing to offer you. Romney might disparage politicians who give “gifts” to the public, but the fact of the matter is that voters support leaders who provide—or can promise—tangible benefits. At most, Republicans promised greater “growth” from cutting taxes, slashing spending, and reducing regulations. Americans didn’t bite, because those policies don’t work (they remember the previous administration) and because they don’t trust Republicans to govern (they remember the previous administration).
prospect.org — Republicans are wondering why they didn't manage to make Hillary Clinton fall whimpering into a fetal position of the floor of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing room, then get up and admit that the Obama administration had engaged in a massive cover-up of their terrible crimes in Benghazi. Senator Ron Johnson, one of the most intellectually challenged members of that august body, with whom Clinton had an exchange that ran on all the news programs, triumphally told a reporter he had got "under her skin." John McCain, on the other hand, blamed an "adoring media" for not helping the Republicans stick it to Clinton. Could be. Or it could be that when you trump up some inane faux outrage over something, and then the person at whom you're directing said outrage actually has a chance to respond directly and decides to call bullshit on you, you don't end up looking too good.
consortiumnews.com — For anyone who has lived through the past several decades of Republican bullying – from Richard Nixon’s anything-goes politics through Karl Rove’s dreams of a “permanent Republican majority” – it had to be startling to hear House Speaker John Boehner complaining that President Barack Obama’s goal was “to annihilate” the GOP. During a private luncheon of the Republican Ripon Society on Tuesday, Boehner cited Obama’s progressive agenda as outlined in his Second Inaugural Address as representing an existential threat to the GOP. The Ohio Republican also claimed that it was Obama’s goal “to just shove us into the dustbin of history.” Of course, Boehner may be wildly exaggerating the Republican plight to shock the party out of its funk, raise more money, and get right-wing activists back to the barricades. Still, his comments marked a remarkable reversal of fortune, like the playground bully getting his nose bloodied and running to the teacher in tears.
washingtonpost.com — Republicans wanted nothing more than to summon Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Capitol Hill and grill her about the tragic fiasco in Benghazi. Sadly for them, they got their wish. Clinton’s smooth and confident performance at Wednesday’s Senate and House committee hearings was fun to watch. When her would-be inquisitors asked serious questions, she gave serious answers. But when Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), full of bombast and faux outrage, accused the administration of initially misstating the nature of the Benghazi attack, she responded with table-pounding thunder: “What difference, at this point, does it make?” And when Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said that he would have fired her had he been president, she answered with an icy cut of her eyes that said: Fat chance.
thedailybeast.com — What with everything going on these days, it wouldn’t surprise me to learn that Reince Priebus hasn’t been foremost in your mind lately. Well, this is your opportunity to correct that error, because I deliver tidings that the Republican National Committee is holding its winter meeting right now, starting yesterday, in Charlotte. A-Number-One on Chairman Priebus’s list, say advance reports, is figuring ways the GOP can attract more support among minorities. Well, they could. But they’d have to do things that would make them not the Republican Party anymore, and their base would never permit it.
prospect.org — The consensus around debt reduction is beginning to crumble. Some straws in the wind are more careful attention to the actual numbers, as well as public conversions by such key players as Larry Summers and Peter Orszag, two former top aides to President Obama, who only yesterday were key members of the deflate-your-way-to-recovery club. President Obama, in his second inaugural address, had little to say about deficit-reduction as some kind of panacea and more about broadly-shared recovery. Given the continuing obsession with the Republicans and the Fix-the-Debt lobby with deficit cuts, it would be good if President Obama were even stronger on the point that we’ve had all the deficit cutting that we need and that the economy can stand, and that health reform is whole other story. But at least the fiscal debate is starting to move in the right direction, the deficit-hawk echo chamber in the media is no longer mindlessly repeating the Peterson mantra, and that’s good news indeed.
thedailybeast.com — It's clever from a pr point of view, I'll give them that. Pushing back the debt limit deadline until May makes them seem less nutso. And this "no budget, no pay" wrinkle is bound to be popular. You can read all about it here if you're unfamiliar with the details. But here's the rub. Paul Ryan is going to draft a new budget that will eliminate the deficit in 10 years. Remember his previous two budgets, the ones that ended up being pretty big political liabilities in the election because of their impact on Medicare and on domestic programs, the ones many middle-ground Americans thought were extreme? Well, they balanced the budget in 30 years. And now he's going to balance it in 10. How is he going to get there? Good question. Far deeper cuts to domestic programs and Medicare--exactly the problems with his prior budgets, now concentrated.
salon.com — It wouldn’t exactly be unprecedented for John Boehner’s latest maneuver to blow up in his face, but all indications are that House Republicans will vote today for a plan that would essentially pretend the debt ceiling doesn’t exist for the next four months. The idea is both a recognition of the untenability of using the looming debt ceiling expiration as a bargaining chip to extract spending cut concessions from the White House and the fear of most House Republicans of going on record voting “yes” to a debt limit hike. Hence Boehner’s solution, which would “suspend” the debt ceiling through the middle of May. Given what until about two weeks ago had been the GOP’s Obama-era orthodoxy on the debt ceiling — it can never be raised until an equal level of budget cuts are agreed to! — this represents a huge retreat.
alternet.org — With its elegant rendering of the liberal agenda before the eyes of the American people, President Barack Obama's second inaugural address was music to the ears of many a progressive. But to the ears of Tea Partiers and the Republican right, this inauguration speech, as well as the ceremony that surrounded it, was war -- not just a war of words, but a war of prayer, a war of poetry and even, perhaps, a war of song. Driving the message home were the hands of the Fates, who conspired to see the second inauguration of the nation’s first African American president fall on Martin Luther King Day, the national holiday whose very creation was opposed by so many who still today comprise the Republican Party’s right wing. Here we recount a dozen ways in which the president brought his fight to the right, in no uncertain terms, at his second inauguration.