POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 12/14
O’Donnell’s famous “I am not a witch” line tied with BP CEO Tony Hayward’s comment that “I’d like my life back.” The other eight top quotes come from Sarah Palin, Sharron Angle and Nancy Pelosi, among others.
ABC News reports that Richard Holbrooke, the US Special Representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan, is dead.
Said Hatch: “Today is a great day for liberty. Congress must obey the Constitution rather than make it up as we go along. Liberty requires limits on government, and today those limits have been upheld.”
But Steve Benen calls him on it: “Look, I get that Hatch is worried about facing a primary challenger in 2012, and on health care policy in general, he’s been a pretty shameless hack. But while he’s applauding this victory for ‘liberty,’ I hope it’s not rude to point out that Orrin Hatch literally co-sponsored a health care bill with an individual mandate.”
Joe Miller (R) has appealed a lower court’s decision over how Alaska counted write-in ballots for his rival, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), according to the Anchorage Daily News.
“Murkowski ran a write-in campaign, the likes of which Alaska had never seen, after losing the GOP primary to Miller. The state, relying on case law, used discretion in determining voter intent, allowing for ballots with misspellings to be counted toward Murkowski’s tally… But Miller and his attorneys argued that the law calls for write-in ballots to have the ballot oval filled and either the candidate’s last name or the name as it appears on the declaration of candidacy written. Spelling, they contended, matters.”
Joe Klein says former OMB Director Peter Orszag’s recent decision to join Citigroup “only reinforces my growing sense that the Democratic party has to pry control of its economic policy away from the Wall Street caucus — the Rubin, Summers, Geithner, Rattner and now Orszag etc. gang. I am sure they have had real value as policy-makers, but they’ve had real blind spots as well.”
“Their blind spots have to do with the workers who once constituted the Democratic party’s base, but who now, with their manufacturing jobs gone, have lost their faith in government and find it easier to vote their anger — against one party, then the next — than to vote for anything or anyone. The Wall Streeters know the bond market intimately; they don’t spend much time thinking about how to improve life for the vast swath of Americans who have suffered the mergers-and-acquisitions, the leveraged-buy-outs, the private equity hoggery, the CDO and CDS’s and all the other financial gimmicks of the last 40 years.”
First Read: “Senate leaders from both parties just indicated that they expect Senate business to go beyond this Friday — which was the expected get-away date for the holidays. No specifics yet and not a certainty, but that is the general guidance.”
A federal judge upheld a constitutional challenge of the insurance coverage mandate in the new health care law but denied an injunction to stop its implementation.
The case will almost certainly make its way to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Update: Gawker reports that the judge “owns between $15,000 and $50,000 in a GOP political consulting firm that worked against health care reform.”
A new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds that 69% of Americans back the tax deal negotiated last week by President Obama and congressional Republicans.
In the Wall Street Journal, Tim Pawlenty rails against public sector labor unions who “contribute mightily to the campaigns of liberal politicians.”
“The moral case for unions — protecting working families from exploitation — does not apply to public employment. Government employees today are among the most protected, well-paid employees in the country. Ironically, public-sector unions have become the exploiters, and working families once again need someone to stand up for them.”
“If we’re going to stop the government unions’ silent coup, conservative reformers around the country must fight this challenge head on. The choice between big government and everyday Americans isn’t a hard one.”
Several more prominent Republicans have questioned Sarah Palin’s qualifications for president because she quit in the middle of her term as Alaska governor.
Sen. Kit Bond (R-MO) told the Kansas City Star, “I have reservations about anyone who quits as governor halfway through the term.”
Former New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman (R) told CNN that, “I mean, she was a governor. But the fact that she left office before even completing her first term is — that’s just not an attitude that I think is necessarily in the best interest of your constituents — rather what’s in your best interests.”
Interestingly, a new Bloomberg poll shows Palin’s favorability rating at just 33% while 57% have an unfavorable view.
Outgoing Sen. Kit Bond (R-MO) told the Kansas City Star that President Obama deserves “a bad C” grade for his first two years in office.
Said Bond: “He came in promising to make it more open and less partisan and it’s been totally partisan and totally non-transparent.”
As for rating other presidents, Bond gave Ronald Reagan an “A,” President George H.W. Bush a “B”, President Bill Clinton a “B-plus” and President George W. Bush an “A-minus.” (Well, that last one says a lot about Bond’s logic and credibility!)
“Our politics may run on two-year cycles — but our problems do not. We won’t get to full employment in two years. We won’t get out of debt in two years. We won’t get our middle class out of this historic hole of inequality and lost opportunity in two years, either.”
A new Bloomberg poll finds that 45% of Americans think President Obama should be defeated for re-election while 42% think he deserves to win.
Former Nevada Senate candidate Sharron Angle (R) is angling to lead the tea party movement heading into 2012, Politico reports.
Mike Huckabee told the National Journal that the “most bizarre part” of the tax cut deal was watching President Obama “self-destruct at the podium” during last week’s press conference.
Said Huckabee: “I was just stunned — I really couldn’t believe that a man that was elected president was as amateurish as he was, and essentially launched from the podium at some of his own, taking aim and mowing down everybody in D.C. and walking away having not understood that he just lost a lot of people.”
He also noted it was bad politics for the president: “Politically, I was shocked it was going to be two not three, because it puts this whole thing in the very center, the bull’s-eye of the 2012 presidential election.”
“After a chilly initial reception from Democrats, the White House appears to have garnered enough bipartisan support to secure the $858 billion bill’s safe passage through a turbulent Congress,” Time reports.
The Senate will vote today and Democratic leaders in both houses signaled that their caucuses “were prepared to swallow the accord’s unpalatable provisions to safeguard the middle class and cushion the economy.”
Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi “is walking a perilous path in the debate over President Obama’s tax plan, letting angry Democrats vent their frustration while also preserving the plan’s chance of passage,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
The Washington Post highlights the biggest problem Democrats have with the bill: “One part of the tax deal between President Obama and congressional Republicans stands out because it would make the tax code even more generous to the wealthy than it was during the Bush era: the estate tax.”
“Wall Street’s biggest banks, rebounding after a government bailout, are set to complete their best two years in investment banking and trading, buoyed by 2010 results likely to be the second-highest ever,” Bloomberg reports.
The surge has come after the five largest banks “took a combined $135 billion from the Treasury Department’s Troubled Asset Relief Program and borrowed billions more from the Federal Reserve’s emergency-lending facilities in late 2008 and early 2009 following the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. Since then, the firms have benefited from low interest rates and the Fed’s purchases of fixed-income securities.”
Meanwhile, a new Bloomberg poll finds that 76% of Americans say big bonuses should be banned this year at Wall Street firms that took taxpayer bailouts.
Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) tells the New York Times that there’s at least a 50/50 chance that he’ll run for president again in 2012.