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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

E. J. Dionne, Jr. sheds light on the Colorado recall of two state senators who supported modest gun safety laws: “[Colorado state Senate President John} Morse also cautioned proponents of stricter gun laws around the country not to read too much into a low-turnout election. He stressed the impact of a court decision that effectively barred mail-in ballots in the contests. Since 70 percent of Coloradans normally vote by mail, the ruling gave the highly energized opponents of the law a leg up. The latest count showed that Morse was defeated by only 343 votes, although Giron’s margin of defeat was wider.”
You knew progressives opposed making Larry Summers the new Fed chair, but “Wall Street types and business economists” too? According to Tim Mullaney’s report on a USA TODAY survey, “56% of the 42 economists said they preferred Fed Vice Chair Janet Yellen for the top job. Conservatives who favor a good sound business administration wanted the quiet, liberal academic Yellen because she’s closely identified with easy-money policies that have served Wall Street well.”
Nothing glazes the eyes over so quickly as discussions of the intricacies of budget battles, critically important though they are to the quality of life experienced by millions of Americans. At Huffpo Sam Stein’s “Democrats Torn Over Strategy For Government Shutdown Fight” explores the debate over the budget baseline and the concerns of progressives about setting the bar too low. “Our argument is that it should not be ok to accept this spending level, not even in the short run,” said Michael Linden, Managing Director for Economic Policy at the Center for American Progress…”It seems to me it would be a real mistake for Democrats to help Republicans pass something that basically endorses the sequester … the continuing resolution should be agnostic on the sequester…”
From Susan Page’s USA Today report on the latest Pew Poll on Obamacare: “There has been a full-court press from Day One from the opposition to characterize and demonize the plan,” says Thomas Mann of the Brookings Institution, who wrote about the GOP efforts in a 2012 book about Washington he co-authored, It’s Even Worse Than It Looks. “The campaign against the law after it was enacted, the range of steps taken, the effort to delegitimize it — it is unprecedented. We’d probably have to go back to the nullification efforts of the Southern states in the pre-Civil War period to find anything of this intensity.”
Bloomberg’s Ford Vox, a physician at at the Shepherd Center for brain and spinal-cord injury in Atlanta, has a devastating portrait of Georgia Governor Nathan Deal’s war on Obamacare, which leaves 650,000 citizens of his state without any help getting health care coverage. Vox writes that “Deal is leading the bandwagon of largely Southern state leaders in blocking implementation of the health-care law,” even though “Georgia’s governor was for state-based health-insurance exchanges before he was against them” and “he declared that it was his “hope” that the committee would find a way for the state to so. His change of heart came in November 2012, after Real PAC started raking in large donations from the health-care industry.”
But Devin Leonard’s BloombergBusinessweek Politics & Policy post on “Obamacare’s Corporate Boosters” includes some good news for those who see Obamacare as a positive step toward separating health security from employers: “…As the House GOP continues to push the line that Obamacare is bad for America and bad for business, some of the nation’s largest employers are undermining the message. Bloomberg News reports that General Electric (GE) plans to curtail benefits for some of its retirees and move them into government-run health-care exchanges. More recently, IBM (IBM) and Time Warner (TWX) said they would steer some of their retirees into privately run health-care exchanges. How long will it be before they simply give their employees a yearly check and let them shop for coverage on government-run exchanges?”
Lauren Fox’s US News post “In Montana, Democrats Might Have Found Their Guy” addresses Dems’ prospects for holding the senate seat being vacated by retiring Max Baucus: “Several Democrats in the state confirm John Walsh, Montana’s lieutenant governor, is now the top recruit who will make his final decision in upcoming weeks. He spent time in Washington this week meeting with party leaders…Walsh, a member of the Montana National Guard, an Iraq War veteran and a bronze star recipient, breaks a lot of stereotypes…”It’s an exciting turn of events,” one Democratic operative says. “You look at John Walsh and you see a salt of the earth leader. He’s not a politician. Montanans like that.”
At The Daily Beast Michael Tomasky explains why you get creeped out when Republican leaders talk about the Administration’s Syria policy: “…I’m not very interested in being lectured that Bashar al-Assad has no real intention of giving up his chemical weapons by the very same people who a decade ago were pushing this country into war–and having the deranged gall to call the rest of us unpatriotic–on the argument that there was no possible way a monster like Saddam Hussein had given up his chemical weapons. Barack Obama has been forced to spend about 70 percent of his presidential energies trying to repair crises foreign and domestic that these people created, and forced to do so against their iron opposition on all fronts; and now that he’s achieved a diplomatic breakthrough, they have the audacity to argue that he sold America out to Vladimir Putin? It’s staggering and sickening.”
What’s this, tentative expressions of, gasp, hope from a couple of Republicans that President Obama’s Syria policy will turn out well? Writing in the New York Times, Michael D. Shear quotes Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee: “It’s hard for anybody to pooh-pooh the idea that we may be on the way to a diplomatic solution.” Republican, Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin says “I hope it works out. I truly do. If he succeeds with this framework, people have to give him credit.”

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