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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

Matea Gold of the L.A. Times D.C. Bureau reports on President Obama’s message to Organizing for Action Founder’s Summit yesterday, which is right on target: “The only idea here that we’re promoting is the notion that if the American people are speaking out, organized, activated, that may give space here in Washington to do the kind of work — hopefully bipartisan work — that’s required…But in order to do that I’m going to need all your help.” Gold adds, “…The organization is drawing on his campaign’s data, technology and staff as it seeks to build a grass-roots force to back him on issues such as gun control, immigration reform and the budget.”
At The Washington Post, Lori Montgomery reports “…107 House Democrats — more than half the caucus — have signed a letter declaring their “vigorous opposition to cutting Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid benefits.” And the complaints are likely to grow louder as Republicans press Obama for more details about his proposals to charge wealthy seniors more for Medicare coverage and to implement the Social Security inflation change, known as the chained consumer price index, or chained CPI.”
Here’s a Wonkblog graphic comparison of the Senate Democrats budget (sponsored by Patti Murray) and Paul Ryan’s House budget.
In his ‘Conscience of a Liberal’ blog, Paul Krugman observes that the Ryan budget “produces a lot of front-loaded austerity, in part because it keeps the tax hikes that finance Obamacare while cancelling the Medicaid expansion and exchange subsidies. The result would be a lot of fiscal drag in 2014 and 2015 — years when the U.S. is very likely still to be in a liquidity trap, so multipliers will be large. This particular “Path to Prosperity” is, in the short to medium term, very much a path to continued depression.”
John Dickerson’s Slate post, “Is Obama Setting a Trap for Republicans?” probes white house strategy in the budget negotiations. Sure, the president would like a grand bargain on the budget, and he has to try for one, knowing full-well that the Republicans could string him along for a while, then sink the negotiations at any time. In that event, Obama has the cover he needs to hang tough and reveal, once again, that the Republicans can’t govern because they won’t compromise — not a bad meme for 2014.
The Republicans’ clueless arrogance toward working people is well-reflected in this account “The Lesson of Mitt Romney’s 47-Percent Video: Be Nice to the Wait Staff?” by Chris Good of ABC’s ‘The Note.’ As Good puts it in his opening and closing sentences: “Mitt Romney may have lost the presidency because he offended a bartender” and “Perhaps candidates should be more careful about what they say around servers, because sometimes the 47 percent is bringing out the food.”
At Roll Call, Abby Livingston posts on “The Unusual Suspects: DCCC Hunts for Outsiders.” Livingston credits the DCCC with reaching beyond traditional sources for candidate recruitment in the Committee’s new ‘Operation Jumpstart.’ Says DCCC Executive Director Kelly Ward: “We look for solutionists, people who have a track record of solving problems in that community or have a story that really resonates with the voters in that community — mayors, business leaders, veterans.” OK, but a wider net couldn’t hurt.
Boo hoo about Intrade’s big fold. But Nate Silver reports that betting on political outcomes is very much alive elsewhere. “Most of these sites are not open to Americans…But they tended to perform more rationally than Intrade over the course of the 2012 campaign, with their prices more closely tracking polls, prediction models and news events.” But their traffic is peanuts, compared to the mother of all casinos — Wall St.– and Silver shows how politics is reflected in stock market prices.
At The New York Times ‘Opinionator,’ Thomas B. Edsall explores in impressive detail how the three different methods of measuring poverty used by politicians lead to serious problems in formulating policy: “The lack of definition in our definition of poverty is part of the problem; it helps to answer the question of how the richest country in the history of the world could have so many people living in a state of deprivation.”
Here’s hoping that Sen. Rand Paul will serve as a ‘useful idiot’ spolier in the 2016 Republican presidential primaries, garnering just enough votes in key states to help deny their most electable candidate, whoever that may be, the nomination. Given the GOP’s venerable tradition of silly or malevolent veep candidates, Paul may yet find himself in that slot, which is a scary enough “heartbeat away” scenario. But he is not likely to top the ticket, as Michael Gerson argues in his WaPo column, “Rand Paul masks his true worldview.”

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