Because the sequester is (and is likely to continue to be) very ill-defined in the minds of most Americans, the politics of it will devolve into a popularity contest between the major players. Which gets us to the fact that Obama is at (or close to) his high-water mark in terms of job approval, while Congress sits in political reporter/used car salesman territory.The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza, theorizing that there’s no way possible way Congress can win the sequester battle against President Obama. The thinking here is is based on three premises: One, that Obama believes the sequester ultimately will not be avoided, because Congress is dysfunctional and if they could have struck a deal on these cuts, there wouldn’t have been a sequester to begin with; two, that effects of the sequestered cuts will be felt by many Americans once they come into effect; and three, that Obama is significantly more popular than Congress. Given these three assumptions, it seems reasonable enough to conclude that if the sequester happens, Congress—and the GOP-led House of Representatives—will be blamed by the American public. It’s not a bad theory, though it’s still quite speculative given the assumptions. More information on the sequester here. source
This may be a moment in Senate history, when a senator made a proposal that, when given an opportunity for a vote on that proposal, filibustered his own proposal…I don’t think this has ever happened before.Sen. Dick Durbin, after Mitch McConnell’s latest scheme blew up in his face. McConnell introduced legislation today that would allow the president to unilaterally raise the debt limit, suspecting that Democrats wouldn’t have the guts to vote for it. When it became clear that Democrats did indeed have the votes to pass the bill with a simple majority, McConnell filibustered it, preventing its passage. The United States Senate, ladies and gentlemen. source
We haven’t heard any specifics from the Governor beyond Big Bird and cutting Planned Parenthood that’s gonna pay for that.President Obama, decrying Mitt Romney’s unwillingness to specify his spending and cutting plans with any vivid or mathematically meaningful details. Mitt Romney’s response: “Of course it adds up.”
» The wages of war: When President Obama referred to a $1 trillion price tag for America’s wars in the last decade, he clearly hadn’t spoken to the folks running the Costs of War project at Brown University’s Watson Institute. The project determined the above figure through calculations that included future costs, such as health services for wounded veterans returning home, as well as counting what’s generally referred to as our “secret” war in Pakistan.
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
Why are we doing all this when the most powerful person in these negotiations, our president, has failed to lead this debate or offer a serious proposal for spending and cuts that he would be willing to fight for?Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin • Calling out President Obama’s leadership on the floor of the Senate today. That this criticism came from freshman Senator Manchin shouldn’t come as a big surprise, as he’s a very conservative Democrat (you may remember him shooting the cap-and-trade bill with a rifle). With the looming departure of Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman in 2012, the West Virginia senator seems primed to hoist the title of “Democrat who most antagonizes his own party” going forward. source (via • follow)