POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 8/8

The Transformation of Michele Bachmann

Today’s must-read piece: Ryan Lizza profiles Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN).

“Bachmann belongs to a generation of Christian conservatives whose views have been shaped by institutions, tracts, and leaders not commonly known to secular Americans, or even to most Christians. Her campaign is going to be a conversation about a set of beliefs more extreme than those of any American politician of her stature, including Sarah Palin, to whom she is inevitably compared.”

 

Downgrade Puts New Pressure on Supercommittee

The downgrade of the federal government’s credit rating “is almost sure to increase pressure on a new Congressional ‘supercommittee’ to mute ideological disagreements and recommend a package of deficit-reduction measures far exceeding its original goal of at least $1.5 trillion,” the New York Times reports.

“Even before the panel is appointed, its mission is expanding. Its role is not just to cut the annual budget deficit and slow the explosive growth of federal debt but also to appease the markets and help restore the United States’ top credit rating of AAA. Otherwise, taxpayers may eventually have to pay more in interest for every dollar borrowed by the Treasury.”

Geithner to Stay Through Election

Politico breaks the news that Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner will remain in his position through President Obama’s reelection campaign.

“Geithner had been under pressure to stay from top administration officials, who did not want him to go while the economic recovery remains weak and any replacement would face a tough confirmation by the Senate. Geithner preferred to return to New York City, where his family now resides and where his son is finishing last year in high school.”

Quote of the Day

“Ask Donald Trump to be Treasury secretary. Have Donald Trump take the job for 90 days. It’s a game changer.”

— Mike Huckabee, quoted by CNN, saying President Obama needs to fire Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.

 

Perry Tells Bundlers to Get Ready

The Austin American Statesman reports the people who are expecting to raise money for a potential Rick Perry presidential campaign got “their marching orders.”

“Leaders of Perry’s fundraising operation sent information on how to raise money for a presidential campaign to potential bundlers — the people who will be tasked with raising hundreds of thousands or dollars, or more, from their friends and business associates… Sending information to bundlers is not the same as raising money. But it’s another sign of what has become fairly obvious, which is that Perry will announce for the Republican presidential nomination very soon. Sensing that momentum is on his side, Perry’s team wants a quick show of force as soon as he enters the campaign, and raising the first few millions of dollars quickly would allow that to happen.”

Why the Downgrade Makes Sense

Felix Salmon: “Any student of sovereign default knows that it is born of precisely the kind of failures of governance that we saw during the debt-ceiling debate. That is why the US cannot hold a triple-A rating from S&P: the chance of having a dysfunctional Congress in future is 100%, and a dysfunctional Congress, armed with a statutory debt ceiling, is an extremely dangerous thing, and very far from risk-free.”

“Yes, there’s a lot of fiscal math in the S&P statement. But at heart, any sovereign ratings decision is political, not economic: the economics is there to provide a veneer of empirical respectability to what is fundamentally a value judgment. We saw the values of Congress during the debt-ceiling debate, including various members of the House who said with genuine sincerity that they’d actually welcome a default. In that context, S&P’s judgment is hard to fault.”

Meanwhile, the New York Times reports that in a conference call with reporters S&P called the bitter stand-off between President Obama and Congress over raising the debt ceiling a “debacle” and warned that further downgrades may lie ahead.

Tea Party’s Next Targets

The Daily Beast reports 19 GOP congressional freshman met for dinner last week and “reveled in the satisfaction of knowing they had dramatically brought Washington to its knees.”

“This ragtag band of proud obstructionists is already looking down the calendar to its next targets: blocking President Obama’s judicial and federal-agency nominations, radically restructuring Medicare and other entitlement programs, and maybe even killing the gasoline tax.”

 

The Blame Game

Recent polls find that Americans still blame George W. Bush for the weak American economy, and Republicans in Congress for the recent gridlock over raising the debt ceiling.

But can President Obama head into his re-election campaign with a message of blame?

Ben Smith: “The clarity of the downgrade intensifies suggestions that the next year will be in no small part about pinning blame. Republican presidential candidates will blame Obama, and if he wants to escape that, he’s likely to launch a more aggressive and direct round of finger-pointing at Republican Congressional leaders than we’ve seen to date.”

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