I didn’t hear a lot of ideas. I heard a lot of … pat partisan platitudes. Ultimately, people are going to ask for answers.Obama adviser David Axelrod • Offering his take on the Republican candidates out there at the moment. Pretty much the only one he really had anything nice to say about was Jon Huntsman, a former Obama staffer and current subject of blogosphere love. (Huntsman was an Obama appointee.) But even considering all this, Axelrod openly admits that the economy — particularly the progress made with the economy — remains the key issue. ”You get tested in this process,” he says. “Ultimately, I’m very confident about the outcome.” source (via • follow)
» Big money for big trickery: As you may have heard, the Republican Party in Wisconsin is facing a grim reality — recall elections are looming, and there’s a pretty decent chance the outcomes will tilt legislative power towards the Democrats. The reason, broadly speaking, is the passion and anger towards the state GOP’s efforts to strip public union rights. As such, they’re is aiming to delay the elections to hope things have time to cool off. Their plan is unorthodox: running Republicans, as Democrats, against the Democratic opposition at the primary stage, thus forcing an extra election. Extra elections come with a cost to the state, though, and this is no different. Sort of hurts the whole cash-strapped, “gotta cut back, gotta strip these union rights” narrative, huh?
Full faith and credit: Moody’s Investors Service warns that a failure by the U.S. Congress to come to an agreement on raising the debt limit could imperil the country’s AAA credit rating: “The heightened polarization over the debt limit has increased the odds of a short-lived default. If this situation remains unchanged in coming weeks, Moody’s will place the rating under review.” You may remember a similar warning from Standard and Poor’s last April — it’s becoming increasingly clear that the debt limit struggle, in addition to the gaping chasm between what Democrats and Republicans would care to do on spending and deficit issues (such a chasm usually means gridlock), is causing angst for financial agencies. source
We’ve got tons of government workers in my district — tons. From La Crosse to Prairie du Chien and to Viroqua and to Ontario and to Hillsboro, you can go on and on and on. We have to overcome that. We gotta hope that they, kind of, are sleeping on July 12th — or whenever the (election) date is.Wisconsin State Sen. Dan Kapanke • Expressing fear that he might get recalled due to the fact that his district has a lot of public-sector union workers in it. A secret recording caught Kapanke saying this along with a few other things. He noted in the clip, taped last week at the Cedar Creek Golf Club in Onalaska, Wisc., that two other state senators were in serious danger of losing their seats, too, and offered up this harbinger: “If they gain control of the Senate, it might be over for us. Because redistricting will play a role, as you know, and we lose that power.” Well, that doesn’t sound optimistic, does it? (h/t ThinkProgress) source (via • follow)
» Democrats can pretend to fix the deficit, too! Not to be all gloom and doom, obviously — the oil industry is one of the most successful financial conquests in human history, and if anybody doesn’t need drawing on breaks from the government, they don’t. Stripping their very generous tax breaks would be both a practical and moral victory in our current political climate. That said, the attempt by the Democratic Party to paint this as a deficit-buster is just as disingenuous as the Republican effort to say the same about last month’s budget deal, which cut $38 billion in spending long-term. The deficit is around $1.4 trillion for this fiscal year, though, which makes the earlier figures seem limp and anemic. Still, it’ll be a nice day for American priorities if this thing passes.
Another Wisconsin GOP senator to face recall: In the wake of JoAnne Kloppenburg’s possible State Supreme Court win (pending a mandated recount, as she leads by the narrowest of margins), an unthinkable upset absent Gov. Scott Walker and his union-busting ways, it seems clear that Wisconsin Republicans have a tough road ahead. GOP State Senator Randy Hopper is the latest victim of this, as he’ll be forced to face a recall election; Democratic activists have more than enough signatures to file against him. source
» So where’d the $40 billion go? Basically, the Democrats had agreed to cut spending by $73 billion, but that’s explicitly based off the levels President Obama wanted in his budget. Since that budget hasn’t passed, the Republicans are arguing that the cuts are really only $33 billion less than current spending levels (which is rather hard to argue). Notwithstanding the dispiriting accounting tomfoolery going on here, though, this is supposedly a deal between the two parties, and between position D (don’t cut spending) and position R (cut tons of spending), even a $33 billion cut strikes us as an entirely reasonable compromise — both numbers are a tiny, tiny slice of the budget in any event, so the quibble seems more symbolic than functional.
They are free to attend hearings, listen to testimony, debate legislation, introduce amendments, and cast votes to signal their support/opposition, but those votes will not count, and will not be recorded.Wisconsin’s GOP Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald • On the topic of the fourteen Democratic Senators who left Wisconsin to hold up Gov. Scott Walker’s union-busting bill. Basically, he’s saying that because the Democrats were held in contempt while they were in Illinois, that status will continue until they appear for the next legislative roll call, so they don’t get to vote. If this is allowed, the Republicans gain an obvious, if temporary strategic edge. Namely, if the Democrats want to be, you know, members of a representative body again, they’d have to attend the next roll call, which isn’t until April 5th. Therefore, in addition to the benefit of having a neutered opposition until April, the Republicans can be sure the Democrats will want to attend that particular session- meaning they can prioritize their biggest goals to that same day, ensuring the fourteen can’t go AWOL again without extending their vote-less status. A very Scott Walker April, anyone? source (via • follow)
» The stonewall may begin to crack: One of the most interesting potential endgames to this continuing Wisconsin kerfuffle is that Gov. Scott Walker could lose critical support from within his own party. Not that this should be viewed as a shift in the Wisconsin GOP’s principles — it seems clear that the collective bargaining rights would have been stripped weeks ago if not for the departure of fourteen Democratic senators — but it seems as if the uncomfortable reality of his non-negotiation is beginning to catch up to Walker. To date, GOP senators Dale Schultz, Rob Cowles, and Luther Olson have indicated compromise may be necessary and appropriate.