Snowe’s retirement will have many lamenting the endangered moderate and wondering how we can turn back the clock. But we can’t. About that, Snowe is right. Polarization is with us now and will be with us for the foreseeable future. The question is whether we will permit it to paralyze our political system and undermine our country or whether we will accept it and make the necessary accommodations.Ezra Klein • Arguing that the problem with congress isn’t partisanship, or ideological polarization, but rather that the institutions and procedures codified in our political system aren’t well-equipped to handle a polarized congress. Klein’s prime example is the filibuster, which as we’ve seen the past couple of years, is absolutely crippling when the two parties in the Senate don’t agree on anything. “Our system, as any historian will tell you, was built by men who hated parties and anticipated their absence from American politics,” Klein says. “But as the two parties have polarized, we’ve learned that a system built for consensus is not able to properly function amid constant partisan competition.” source (via • follow)
» His closest GOP competitor got a fraction of that: Barber, who was encouraged by Giffords to run for the seat, has a major leg up in the April 17 primary for Arizona’s eighth Congressional district. The special election takes place in June. However, while Barber will run uncontested for the primary this time around, Democrats may take him on in the general election in November. A variety of Republicans are running for the seat, which is in a swing district.
» Revenue-neutral or revenue-raising? The differing views of how the corporate tax policy should be reformed strike at the heart of differing philosophies the two parties have. Both agree on some basics — they’d like to figure out ways to get multinational companies to create jobs in the U.S., for example. “My message is simple: It’s time to stop rewarding businesses that ship jobs overseas and start rewarding companies that create jobs right here in America,” Obama said during the State of the Union in January. However, they differ greatly on the ultimate solutions. Do we need to give such big tax breaks to massive oil companies? Democrats say no. Republicans say taxes across the board are too high. We hope they solve this, UFC-style, in ”The Octagon.”
I’ve never defined myself by anything other than my service, and my duty, and what we should all be judged on in life. We’ve all had relationships, as is clear as day now — now this is national news — that I have had one where he wanted to harm me. And now this is rolled out, and the timing is more than a coincidence.Pinal County, Ariz. Sheriff Paul Babeu • On having to “out” himself in light of a personal scandal. The sheriff, currently running for a Republican Congressional seat in Arizona, had been dogged by rumors that he threatened to deport an ex-lover to Mexico if their relationship a secret wasn’t kept. In order to deny those rumors, Babeu held a press conference and, in turn, announced his sexuality. Babeu, a hard-line conservative who had been a rising GOP star prior to the scandal, recently spoke at CPAC, where he called his primary opponent, Rep. Paul Gosar ”most liberal Republican member of Congress.” Babeu thinks political rivals were behind the recent scandal. ”I’ve got a record of service. people know me. I want to be judged, as every American should be, on results,” Babeu said. Does Babeu stand a shot at getting elected in the wake of this news? source (via • follow)
» The trade-off: “On the one hand, if policymakers leave current laws unchanged, the federal debt will probably recede slowly,” said CBO director Douglas W. Elmendorf. “On the other hand, changing current laws to let current policies continue … would boost the economy and allow people to pay less in taxes and benefit more from government programs in the next few years — but put the nation on an unsustainable fiscal course.” That’s a tough one, kids.
It was very touching. I thanked her for her service, wished her well, and she just looked beautiful.Gabrielle Giffords shooting survivor Pat Maisch • Describing her impression of the resigning Congresswoman at her “Congress On Your Corner” event, which Giffords resumed on Monday, over a year after the shooting that nearly killed her. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords thanked the survivors and heroes from that day. Maisch was the one who wrestled the gun away from the shooter. Although Giffords has made incredible strides in her recovery, the Congresswoman has decided to leave office this week — but not before watching Obama’s State of the Union address tomorrow; she’ll be there in person. source (via • follow)
Due to the Republican and Democratic retreats taking place over the next two weeks, markup of the Stop Online Piracy Act is expected to resume in February. I am committed to continuing to work with my colleagues in the House and Senate to send a bipartisan bill to the White House that saves American jobs and protects intellectual property.Rep. Lamar Smith • Noting that he will continue pushing SOPA hearings next month despite widespread frustration against the bill. “To enact legislation that protects consumers, businesses and jobs from foreign thieves who steal America’s intellectual property,” he writes, “we will continue to bring together industry representatives and Members to find ways to combat online piracy.” So yeah, SOPA not dead, just dormant.