POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 11/30
Tim Carney looks at 13 retiring or defeated U.S. Senators and predicts their next job with few returning to their previous employment: “There’s too much money to make playing the Beltway game these days — and besides, many of these guys never had a real job.”
A new Fairleigh Dickinson PublicMind poll in New Jersey finds Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) could face a tough re-election campaign in 2012 with just 31% having a favorable opinion of him, 25% having an unfavorable opinion and another 44% either are unsure (29%) or haven’t heard of him at all (15%).
A new McClatchy-Marist Poll finds just 28% of voters think the Republicans in Congress will negotiate with President Obama and Democrats. Instead, 64% believe the Republicans will hold fast to their positions and 7% are unsure.
A new Pew Research survey has found that a large majority of Americans support allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military, 58% to 27%.
But the politics: “Large majorities of Democrats (70%) and independents (62%) favor allowing gays to serve openly. Republicans are divided (40% favor, 44% oppose)… Only about four-in-ten (38%) Republicans and Republican leaners who agree with the Tea Party favor allowing gays to serve openly while 48% are opposed.”
Greg Sargent notes that “moderate Republican rank-and-filers strongly favor DADT’s repeal. Indeed, the only group that opposes repeal are conservative Republicans.”
A new Public Policy Polling survey finds that just 19% of Americans have a favorable opinion of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg while 38% see him unfavorably.
Sarah Palin may think she could beat President Obama in a 2012 presidential race, but a new Public Policy Polling survey finds that just 28% of Americans agree while 60% think she would lose and 12% aren’t sure.
The Washington Post looks at the recent appearance in political discourse of “American exceptionalism,” a term that “until recently, was rarely heard outside the confines of think tanks, opinion journals and university history departments.”
“But with Republicans and tea party activists accusing President Obama and the Democrats of turning the country toward socialism, the idea that the United States is inherently superior to the world’s other nations has become the battle cry from a new front in the ongoing culture wars. Lately, it seems to be on the lips of just about every Republican who is giving any thought to running for president in 2012.”
Deeper look: “Some, however, wonder whether Obama’s conservative critics are sounding an alarm about the United States’ place in the world – or making an insidious suggestion about the president himself.”
Latino leaders “are quietly debating whether to sever their traditional Democratic ties and form an independent grass-roots political group,” the Las Vegas Sun reports.
The idea was “born of frustration over the party’s inaction on immigration reform and fears that as a voting bloc they’re a political afterthought” and the “unlikely model for the movement they would like to launch is the Tea Party.”
President Obama will propose to freeze “civilian pay for federal employees” for the next two years, according to Government Executive.
Former Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL) is considering a bid for West Palm Beach mayor, thePalm Beach Post reports, but he’ll wait until the December 27 filing deadline to decide.
“Foley’s scandalous past — he resigned from Congress in 2006 when it was revealed he sent sexually charged Internet messages to male pages — might not make him a favorite. But he would lend the race national attention and the big name it lacks so far.”
Said Foley: “I do have the luxury that I can be the last man to file if I choose to, and still have the name ID.”
The latest Texas Weekly/Texas Tribune Inside Intelligence survey — a poll of Texas political insiders — finds that 58% think Gov. Rick Perry (R) will run for president, despite his insistence that he’s not interested.
New York magazine reports that almost everywhere New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) goes “he is filmed by an aide whose job is to capture… ‘moments,’ as the governor’s staff has come to call them. When one occurs, Christie’s press shop splices the video and uploads it to YouTube; from there, conservatives throughout the country share Christie clips the way tween girls circulate Justin Bieber videos.”
Jeffrey Toobin: “What made the decision in Bush v. Gore so startling was that it was the work of Justices who were considered, to greater or lesser extents, judicial conservatives. On many occasions, these Justices had said that they believed in the preëminence of states’ rights, in a narrow conception of the equal-protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, and, above all, in judicial restraint. Bush v. Gore violated those principles…”
“The echoes of Bush v. Gore are clearest when it comes to judicial activism. Judicial conservatism was once principally defined as a philosophy of deference to the democratically elected branches of government. But the signature of the Roberts Court has been its willingness, even its eagerness, to overturn the work of legislatures.”
Gregg Easterbrook: “This year, the United States will spend at least $700 billion on defense and security. Adjusting for inflation, that’s more than America has spent on defense in any year since World War II — more than during the Korean war, the Vietnam war, or the Reagan military buildup. Much of that enormous sum results from spending increases under presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Since 2001, military and security expenditures have soared by 119 percent.”
“For most of that time, of course, the United States has been fighting two wars. Yet that’s not the cause of the defense-spending explosion. Even if the costs of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan are subtracted, the defense budget has swelled by 68 percent since 2001.”
In a New York Review of Books essay, former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens explains for the first time how he abandoned his support for capital punishment.
Stevens, who supported the reinstatement of the death penalty in 1976 as a newly-sworn justice, concluded that personnel changes on the court, coupled with “regrettable judicial activism,” had created a system of capital punishment that is “shot through with racism, skewed toward conviction, infected with politics and tinged with hysteria.”
New York Times: “The essay is remarkable in itself. But it is also a sign that at 90, Justice Stevens is intent on speaking his mind on issues that may have been off limits while he was on the court. In the process, he is forging a new model of what to expect from Supreme Court justices after they leave the bench, one that includes high-profile interviews and provocative speeches.”
“The first test of the post-election relationship between President Obama and newly powerful Republican congressional leaders will come at a White House meeting on Tuesday, which is likely to focus on the tax-cut debate.”
Greg Sargent: “The events of this week could go a long way towards establishing just how tenacious and confrontational the White House and Democrats will prove to be in dealing with the new, emboldened GOP leadership. Obama meets with GOP leaders on Tuesday for their first sit-down meeting over a range of issues, most notably the Bush tax cuts, which will produce the most contentious and high-stakes standoff of the lame duck session.”
Among the more interesting: Russia’s Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is an “alpha dog” while Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev is a “pale, hesitant” figure who “plays Robin to Putin’s Batman.”
France’s President Nicola Sarkozy is an “emperor with no clothes” with a “thin-skinned and authoritarian personal style.” Italy’s Silvio Berlusconi is “feckless, vain, and ineffective as a modern European leader.” German Chancellor Angela Merkel is “risk aversive and rarely creative.”
President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan is said to “float along on paranoia” and is dismissed as “an extremely weak man who did not listen to facts but was instead easily swayed by anyone who came to report even the most bizarre stories or plots against him.”
The Wall Street Journal reports that at least 15% of the 94 incoming members of the House of Representatives will sleep in their congressional offices.