POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES
Billonaire investor Warren Buffett said the Bush-era tax cuts for the rich should be allowed to expire at the end of the year, the Financial Times reports, “adding that, if anything, the wealthiest Americans should pay even more in taxes.”
He also “scotched suggestions, promoted by Republicans, that extending tax cuts for the rich would lead to more investment and have a multiplier effect across the economy at a time when growth remains insipid.”
Said Buffett: “The rich are always going to say that, you know, just give us more money and we’ll go out and spend more and then it will all trickle down to the rest of you. But that has not worked the last 10 years, and I hope the American public is catching on.”
“I will not vote for a single piece of legislation that I can’t reconcile with the text and the original understanding of the U.S. Constitution… I’ll do it every single time regardless of what the precedent says.”
— Sen.-elect Mike Lee (R-UT), quoted by NBC News.
Even as Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) says he would welcome Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) back to the U.S. Senate, McClatchy reports he’s “still urging conservative activists around the country to donate money to replace the Alaskan incumbent with tea party favorite Joe Miller.”
DeMint writes: “Joe Miller can win this race, but he’s up against a well-financed legal team that is working for Lisa Murkowski. They will be fighting to bend the law in Alaska, which requires write-in ballots to accurately state the candidate’s name.”
Meanwhile, Politico notes that “like any good action-movie character mistakenly left for dead, Murkowski’s coming back with a vengeance, picking fights with Sarah Palin and the party’s activist wing.”
In other trial heats, Mitt Romney edges Obama, 45% to 44%, while the president edges Mike Huckabee, 46% to 44%, and beats Mitch Daniels (R), 46% to 36%.
Said pollster Peter Brown: “At this point, former Alaska Gov. Palin runs the worst against President Obama. Daniels is essentially a generic Republican because of his anonymity to most voters. Obama only gets 45% against him while he gets 48% against Ms. Palin. She is very unpopular among independents and although she recently said she thought she could defeat Obama, the data does not now necessarily support that assertion.”
Key finding: Palin is viewed the most negatively by the American people of the possible Republican candidates in 2012. She is viewed unfavorably by 51% of voters and favorably by 36%.
Aides to Sarah Palin preparing for an Iowa stop on her upcoming book tour, “told locals they were looking into office space and other logistical needs for the coming year,” the Guardian reports.
A must-read New York magazine piece notes that at the very moment that the Republican party “appears poised to return from its short sojourn in the political wilderness, the party is desperately searching for a leader. Which explains conservatives’ serious — and sudden — infatuation with Chris Christie.”
“A lobbyist and political hack who parlayed his fund-raising for George W. Bush into an appointment as New Jersey’s U.S. Attorney, Christie didn’t wow anyone with his 2009 gubernatorial campaign, which was impressive mostly for its lack of content. He promised to cut spending and taxes but adamantly refused to offer any specifics as to how he planned to do so, leading many to assume that he wouldn’t… But Christie, 48, has upended those expectations.”
Mike Huckabee told the Des Moines Register that Sarah Palin would be a strong contender for president should she decide to run.
Said Huckabee: “No question, she will be a very, very strong presence and force, if she gets in. You know, she may run away with it. And that’s one of those things everyone needs to be prepared for.”
Yale economist Ray C. Fair has updated his forecast and says that based on the facts at hand right now, President Obama is likely to win the 2012 election in a landslide.
Fair tells the New York Times that there “is considerable data behind his election prediction, using his econometric models. One produces a forecast for the overall, or macro, economy, while another uses economic inputs to forecast the national popular vote. At the moment, he says, the data augurs well for the president.”
CNN reports that Democrats in the House and Senate “have decided to move ahead with votes after Thanksgiving to extend the Bush tax cuts for those making $250,000 or less,” daring Republicans to vote against the measure.
“These decisions come hours after Democratic leaders met at the White House with President Obama, where several sources say they talked extensively about the tax cuts… It is unclear if Democrats in either chamber have enough votes to pass only the middle class tax cuts. Democratic leaders are leaving open the possibility of compromise with Republicans if their measures do not pass. In fact, Democratic sources say Obama made clear in Thursday’s meeting they may ultimately need to find a middle ground.”