POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 12/10

Manchin Votes Against Repeal, Then Apologizes

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) was the only Democrat to vote against a procedural motion to repeal the law banning gays from serving in the military.

But after the vote, The Hill reports Manchin “blasted out a statement apologizing to anyone angered by his vote and said he believed the policy ‘probably should be repealed in the near future.'”

Said Manchin: “While I am very sympathetic to those who passionately support the repeal, as a Senator of just three weeks, I have not had the opportunity to visit and hear the full range of viewpoints from the citizens of West Virginia.”

Boehner Plans to Cut House Budget

House Republican leader John Boehner tells 60 Minutes that the first vote Congress will undertake once he’s elected speaker next month will be to cut Congressional budgets by five percent, a move he says is worth $25 to $30 million.

In the segment, which will air this weekend, Boehner “cried several times during interviews, on topics such as his family and his principles.”

Repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Fails

A proposed repeal of the ban on gays and lesbians serving in the military failed a procedural vote in the U.S. Senate, 57 to 40 — just three votes short of the 60 needed.

First Read: “Ultimately, Majority Leader Harry Reid called for the vote without having reached a procedural agreement with moderate Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, who supports repeal but wanted greater openness for the process of amending and passing the bill. Collins voted aye on the measure, but other Republicans who support repeal but had voiced similar procedural concerns — Sens. Scott Brown and Lisa Murkowski — voted no. One Democrat, newly-elected Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, broke with his party to vote no.”

Gravel Says He Might Challenge Obama

Former Sen. Mike Gravel (D-AK), who ran for president in 2008, told the Daily Caller that he is mulling a primary challenge to President Obama in 2012.

 

Virtually Unelectable

Public Policy Polling has done 2012 presidential polls in seven states and finds a significant number of Republicans who would not vote for Sarah Palin if she were the GOP nominee.

“Republicans may hate Barack Obama but there look to be a pretty meaningful percentage of them who don’t hate him enough to vote to put Sarah Palin in the White House. When you combine that with her complete lack of appeal to Democrats and independents she looks virtually unelectable for 2012.”

Extra Bonus Quote of the Day

“By using rhetoric that calls us ‘hostage-takers,’ he believes, somehow, that the Left will give him some credit for hating us, or putting us in a bad light. But it just lowers him. He is whining, and no one likes a whining president… There is a lot of disappointment on our side. Quite frankly, this is going to be hard to forget.”

— Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), in an interview with the National Review, on President Obama’s characterization of his tax deal with Republicans.

Palin Plans Foreign Trip

The Daily Beast reports that Sarah Palin “is planning her first real foreign trip — a move that could burnish her foreign policy credentials in advance of a 2012 presidential run.”

“At the top of the list: Israel and England, both countries she has said she wanted to travel to in the past. The schedule and itinerary is still fluid, but an overseas trip in 2011 will boost her foreign policy credentials, something she can turn to in a potential 2012 presidential run.”

Lobbyists Take Jobs with Tea Partiers

The Washington Post reports that Sens.-elect Mike Lee (UT), Ron Johnson (WI) and Rand Paul (KY) have all hired lobbyists as their top Senate aides, despite their campaign rhetoric and strong support from the anti-establishment Tea Party movement.

“These cases illustrate the endurance of Washington’s traditional power structure, even in the wake of an election dominated by insurgent rhetoric.”

In Defense of WikiLeaks

Glenn Greenwald: “Whatever you think of WikiLeaks, they have not been charged with a crime, let alone indicted or convicted. Yet look what has happened to them. They have been removed from Internet … their funds have been frozen … media figures and politicians have called for their assassination and to be labeled a terrorist organization. What is really going on here is a war over control of the Internet, and whether or not the Internet can actually serve its ultimate purpose — which is to allow citizens to band together and democratize the checks on the world’s most powerful factions.”

A Fundamentally Progressive Deal?

Robert Shrum: “The progressive resistance to the Obama deal on tax cuts is both unreasoning and unreasonable. Unreasoning because the opponents, whose anger is congealing into adamantine ideology inside the Democratic Party, are pulling out a cascade of objections but offering up no practical alternative. Unreasonable because what the president achieved — which in reality should be called an economic recovery package — is a fundamentally progressive deal.”

The Perils of Going First

Chris Cillizza suggests Republicans are waiting to officially jump into the 2012 presidential race because the first one in rarely wins.

“Since 1972, only two candidates — George McGovern in 1972 and Al Gore in 2000 — have both been the first candidate in and the last man standing in a presidential nominating fight… More often, the first candidate into the race is the first candidate out of the race.”

Democrats Vote Against Consideration of Tax Deal

The House Democratic Caucus has voted against consideration of the White House tax package unless there are changes, the National Journal reports.

The vote is non-binding but highly symbolic.

Just last night, the Los Angeles Times says Vice President Biden told House Democrats no changes would be made to the compromise.

Palin’s Reading List

More than two years after Sarah Palin was stumped by the question, “What newspapers do you read?”, she told Barbara Walters in an interview to air later tonight.

Said Palin: “I read anything and everything that I can get my hands on as I have since I was a little girl… I’m reading the best book right now — Dean Karnazes’s book about being an ultra-marathoner. I read a lot of C.S. Lewis when I want some divine inspiration…I read Newsmax and The Wall Street Journal. I read all of our local papers of course in Alaska because that’s where my heart is.”

Bonus Quote of the Day

“Unfortunately I think that President Obama sees the job more as negotiator-in-chief than really the leader of our country and the leader of our party.”

— Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY), in an interview with ABC News.

Palin’s Two Tracks

Time: “While other Republicans followed predictable and even plodding paths toward the White House this year, Palin has moved along two parallel tracks, one befitting a candidate, the other designed for a celebrity. It is often hard to tell where one stops and the other begins, and that is by design. A presidential candidate used to need a central headquarters and satellite offices in all the early primary states; now all a contender like Palin needs is a cable modem. Working largely from her lakeside house in Wasilla, Alaska, Palin raised millions of dollars, produced three viral Internet videos and endorsed more than seven dozen Republican candidates (most of whom prevailed).”

More Money Woes for RNC

The RNC has quietly disclosed more than $4 million in previously unreported debt in amended filings with the FEC, meaning yet another headache for embattled party chairman Michael Steele, ABC News reports.

Biden Replaces Rahm

Politico: “With Capitol Hill increasingly hostile territory for President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden seems ready to take the place of the departed Rahm Emanuel as the one senior administration official who can deliver the White House’s position — good news or bad — to members and senators of both parties.”

“White House officials say it’s the same role the vice president, who served nearly four decades in the Senate, has played since the start of the administration. But in the absence of Emanuel, who formerly served as Obama’s chief of staff and as a House member, no one in the West Wing matches Biden when it comes to his ties on the Hill, depth of knowledge on how Congress works and having the members’ trust on both sides of the aisle.”

Like Clinton or Bush?

Jon Meacham: “The Clinton comparison has been much in the air after President Obama’s deal to extend the George W. Bush-era tax cuts. But a more apt analogy for the present lies in 1990, not in 1994, and with George Herbert Walker Bush, not with William Jefferson Clinton.”

“It was in 1990 that Mr. Bush broke one of the most celebrated promises in modern American politics — ‘Read my lips: no new taxes,’ as he put it in 1988 — in order to control federal spending. In the same way that Mr. Obama struck his deal to secure lower tax rates for the middle-class and win an extension of unemployment benefits, Mr. Bush gave on tax rates to get ‘pay as you go’ rules — meaning that no further spending could be approved without compensating budget cuts or revenue increases. It was the beginning of the fiscal discipline that helped create the budget surpluses of the 1990s.”

“While Mr. Obama’s immediate concern is stimulus and Mr. Bush’s was deficit-reduction, both gave way on issues critical to the true believers within their parties. For Mr. Bush, it was political death. He had never been fully trusted by a Reaganite Republican base. Like Mr. Obama — who is unhappy with his ‘sanctimonious’ left wing — Mr. Bush was no ideologue.”

Most Americans Say They’re Worse Off

A new Bloomberg Poll finds more than 50% of Americans say they are worse off now than they were two years ago when President Obama took office, and two-thirds believe the country is headed in the wrong direction.

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