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The Morning Plum

By Greg Sargent

* Obama reiterates firm stance on Bush tax cuts: The President, in Seoul, restates his insistence that the Bush tax cuts for the middle class be made permanent:

"My number one priority is making sure that we make the middle-class tax cuts permanent -- that we give certainty to the 98 percent of Americans who are affected by those tax breaks ... I continue to believe that extending, permanently, the upper-income tax cuts would be a mistake, and that we can't afford it. And my hope is, is that somewhere in between there, we can find some sort of solution."

This is key, because yesterday it became unclear whether making the middle class cuts permanent was still the President's starting point in negotiations with Republicans, who will only accept extending the middle class and high end cuts extended for the same duration. He seems to be reaffirming that it is.

* Major caveat: Anonymous Congressional aides are signaling that they may be willing to pretend that a temporary extension of all the tax cuts is some kind of "compromise." The key question here is which Dems are going to publicly play along with this B.S.

* The public wants the high end cuts to expire: So finds a new CBS poll:

Forty-nine percent, including about seven in ten Democrats, say these tax breaks for high earners should be left to expire. Forty-four percent, including seven in ten Republicans, say they should not.

* The left is refusing to sit in the corner with a dunce cap on: Perry Bacon has a nice overview of how liberals are refusing to accept the blame for the shellacking and instead are demanding Obama not cede ground to Republicans on core issues and priorities.

* Obama blesses Pelosi as minority leader: Good for Obama for sticking by her: "I think Speaker Pelosi has been an outstanding partner."

Also key from Obama: He adds that he's "looking forward to working" with Pelosi and Harry Reid, which seems like an unofficial endorsement of her for the minority leader slot.

* Pelosi bid faces no real opposition: As Karen Tumulty notes in an interesting piece on the debate over Pelosi's bid, the real tell is that no meaningful opposition among House Dems has emerged.

* And: The left is heavily committed to seeing Pelosi remain the Dems' leader.

If Republicans repeal reform, would they "own" the problem of the uninsured"? Ron Brownstein says that the GOP goes through with repeal, they would suddenly own the problem health reform was designed to fix, but he wonders whether they would even care:

Most Republican officeholders appear entirely comfortable accepting unprecedented numbers of uninsured Americans as the new normal.

* No, it's not conclusive that health reform caused the Dem shellacking: A good read from Jonathan Bernstein skewering the claim that just won't die.

The key thing to keep in mind here is that this debate isn't merely an academic one over a bygone election. It has direct bearing on how Dems respond to the GOP's coming repeal push -- and how health care is handled when it surfaces as a major issue in the 2012 presidential race

* Defining "bipartisan compromise": Paul Krugman, reading the deficit commission's draft report, defines the Beltway notion of bipartisan compromise: "A compromise between the center-right and the hard-right."

* Is Don't Ask Don't Tell on its last legs? Though we keep hearing that Dems are negotiating to strip repeal from the defense authorization bill, Jonathan Capehart's sources assure him a plan to kill off DADT is in fact in the works. More on this later, hopefully.

* Fixing health care is a disqualifier in a GOP presidential candidate: No matter what Mitt Romney does, the Tea Party will never, ever forgive him for passing a moderate and successful health reform plan as Governor of Massachusetts.

* And House GOPer Allen West is getting off to a great start: It's not exactly a reassuring sign that his choice for chief of staff, a far-right radio host, may have helped inspire a threat of violence that closed down 300 schools.

What else is happening?

By Greg Sargent  | November 12, 2010; 8:21 AM ET
Categories:  2010 elections, 2012, Health reform, House Dems, House GOPers, Morning Plum, Tea Party, gay rights  
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Next: Republicans have Obama exactly where they want him

Comments

Lets see, what is spattered on the screen this morning, bad news, bad news, more bad news...ah, here is some good news on the PL. For one thing, Mitt Romney, perhaps the most moderate (electable) Republican of the crop of 10 contenders is dead in the water because of the tea baggers and the "values voters".

Posted by: shrink2 | November 12, 2010 8:37 AM | Report abuse

"I continue to believe that extending, permanently, the upper-income tax cuts would be a mistake, and that we can't afford it. "

I continue to believe that a public option is the best way to control health care costs. Blah blah blah.

The word is veto, Obama. Look it up. (Or ask Hillary what it means.)

Posted by: wbgonne | November 12, 2010 8:46 AM | Report abuse

On Beck's "Soros the puppet master" series...

"Drahtzieher" was the term used in Nazi propaganda to describe Jews. Literal translation, "wire pullers".

Posted by: bernielatham | November 12, 2010 8:53 AM | Report abuse

Troll, your defending Rush Limbaugh's decades-long penchant for making provocative comments by suggesting that he is just pointing out the absurd with absurdity is, in itself absurd. It doesn't even remotely begin to answer why the topics that he thinks are absurd typically involve race, gender, sexual orientation, even disease and disability. He may not be a racist or misogynist in his personal life, but he intentionally makes provocative comments that can only be seen as insensitive or offensive to groups that tend to be minorities.

As for your comment that the media has been silent about Clyburn, um, you must be joking about that. It's all over the news. And the false equivalence that "if it was a Republican" is also a failure because the GOP has been trying to oust Steele since he first won the RNC chair. And while it is certainly discussed in racial terms by commenters and some in the media, his race has not been nearly as dominant an issue as have been his many repeated stumbles and gaffes. In that regard, comparing someone as intellectually and politically well-regarded as Clyburn with someone who does not garner nearly as much respect, as Steele does not, is quite honestly ludicrous. It brings the level of discourse down to the fact that, yes, both men ARE African-American and they are among the leadership of the parties. The similarities end there, and to disregard performance, quality of character, and intellectual seriousness of the two men and to focus on race, as Limbaugh does, is really to do a disservice to the highest ranking congressman in U.S. history.

I think you made a modicum of effort at candor in your reply to my sincere questions, and I thank you for the attempt, but your answer fell so far short on the facts that it is abundantly clear to me that you are still not being wholly truthful. And that is disappointing and, frankly, sad.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | November 12, 2010 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Troll, your defending Rush Limbaugh's decades-long penchant for making provocative comments by suggesting that he is just pointing out the absurd with absurdity is, in itself absurd. It doesn't even remotely begin to answer why the topics that he thinks are absurd typically involve race, gender, sexual orientation, even disease and disability. He may not be a racist or misogynist in his personal life, but he intentionally makes provocative comments that can only be seen as insensitive or offensive to groups that tend to be minorities.

As for your comment that the media has been silent about Clyburn, um, you must be joking about that. It's all over the news. And the false equivalence that "if it was a Republican" is also a failure because the GOP has been trying to oust Steele since he first won the RNC chair. And while it is certainly discussed in racial terms by commenters and some in the media, his race has not been nearly as dominant an issue as have been his many repeated stumbles and gaffes. In that regard, comparing someone as intellectually and politically well-regarded as Clyburn with someone who does not garner nearly as much respect, as Steele does not, is quite honestly ludicrous. It brings the level of discourse down to the fact that, yes, both men ARE African-American and they are among the leadership of the parties. The similarities end there, and to disregard performance, quality of character, and intellectual seriousness of the two men and to focus on race, as Limbaugh does, is really to do a disservice to the highest ranking congressman in U.S. history.

I think you made a modicum of effort at candor in your reply to my sincere questions, and I thank you for the attempt, but your answer fell so far short on the facts that it is abundantly clear to me that you are still not being wholly truthful. And that is disappointing and, frankly, sad.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | November 12, 2010 9:28 AM | Report abuse

I've gone from thinking that Obama is simply inept to thinking that he's inept and that he's a consummate liar.

We can't afford the tax cuts for the so-called rich?

We CAN afford them for the so-called middle class?

Uhmm.. WHAT??? The tax cuts for the rich represent a far smaller amount of money than the cuts for the middle class as Obama calls them.

So why can we afford the vastly more expensive tax cuts?

Oh, right. THOSE tax cuts are stimulative and will result in economic growth. The tax cuts for "the rich" will just be hoarded and shoved under mattresses.

Obama is a supply sider.. almost.

The incoherence of this administration's positions on virtually EVERYTHING tickles me to no end.

Posted by: BoiledFrog | November 12, 2010 9:41 AM | Report abuse

"Fixing health care is a disqualifier in a GOP presidential candidate: No matter what Mitt Romney does, the Tea Party will never, ever forgive him for passing a moderate and successful health reform plan as Governor of Massachusetts."

This may be yet another signal that the nomination process will be a messy one for Republicans.

Romney is the establishment choice. So, the powers that be in the Republican Party won't let him be pushed aside easily by the "not sophisticated" (according to Karl Rove) Tea Party.

Posted by: associate20 | November 12, 2010 9:43 AM | Report abuse

This statement doesn't dramatically alter Axelrod's comments. The question isn't whether the middle-class tax cuts will be made temporary or permanent, but whether the top-income bracket will be extended.

Frankly the entire series of Bush tax-cuts should expire if we're serious about debt-reduction. In terms of a near-term stimulus it's a hard case to make in terms of its extension (there are a lot better ways to generate growth than tax-cuts).

In terms of the decades long experiment with the policy itself it turned out to be a monumental disaster. One of the most costly and wasteful domestic budget programs under pretty much any administration. The tax cuts obliterated surpluses and created deficits; they coincided with a decade of near zero job growth and declining wages for most wage earners. They were a nice gift though from future generations to top-income earners today. For a lot of politicians -- especially Republicans -- this is moral and right.

When income flows from the earnings of future generations, the middle class, and working class families up the income scale that's "rewarding the wealth creators" -- even if those people suck at actually creating wealth for anyone but themselves.

But when we have policies that invest in America's future and offer a fair shake to America's workers -- and a genuine rising tide -- it's somehow "redistribution of the wealth" that must be condemned by "serious people".

Posted by: JPRS | November 12, 2010 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Michael Steele, even though he's done one heck of a job, is (over)due to be fired, I mean lose his bid for reelection, as early as next week. I predict he goes ballistic. It should be, I do hope it gets very, very ugly.

Posted by: shrink2 | November 12, 2010 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Bernie!

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | November 12, 2010 10:10 AM | Report abuse

@BoiledFrog:

To be fair, Obama has never said that we can afford the middle class tax cuts. He has, however, allowed that IMPLICATION to persist.

That said, I think you highlight an important issue that's been lost in politics of the intra- and interparty debate: How are we going to pay for a permanent extension of middle-class tax cuts?

Related issue: Will Dems pass a non-offset tax cut that adds more money to the deficit (after saying how terrible it is that Republicans did that)?

I think arguably more serious, certainly from a fiscal standpoint, questions have taken a backseat to perfunctory questions about who is or isn't "caving" to the other side and whether or not "compromise" will happen.

Posted by: associate20 | November 12, 2010 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Too humorous for words:

Glenn Beck's recent delving into George Soros's background left out a small detail.

Randy Scheunamann, foreign policy adviser to Sarah Palin, and to the 2008 McCain campaign, has also been a paid lobbyist for George Soros since 2003.

http://www.salon.com/news/politics/war_room/2010/11/12/orion_soros_palin

Posted by: suekzoo1 | November 12, 2010 10:16 AM | Report abuse

JPRS, please stop making sense. Screed baby screed. C'mon where's the hate in all caps? No one wants to read the plain truth. Thanks actually.

Posted by: shrink2 | November 12, 2010 10:21 AM | Report abuse

@JPRS- "Frankly the entire series of Bush tax-cuts should expire if we're serious about debt-reduction."

Be careful, if you advocate raising taxes on the wealth you will be accused of hating the rich and of engaging in class warfare. I assume wanting the same on the middle class means you hate them too.

"In terms of a near-term stimulus it's a hard case to make in terms of its extension (there are a lot better ways to generate growth than tax-cuts)."

It's an even harder case to make when it is acknowledged that nobody is proposing a tax cut at all. We want to stimulate the economy by leaving in place the tax cuts that were in place when the economy tanked. Yep, that makes sense.

@associate-
"I think arguably more serious, certainly from a fiscal standpoint, questions have taken a backseat to perfunctory questions about who is or isn't "caving" to the other side and whether or not "compromise" will happen."

Excellent point.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | November 12, 2010 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Beck's extraordinary success in print, radio and televised media owes to his ability to be outrageous without being Michael Savage. He probably studied the career of Howard Stern, learning how an annoying personality could make millions flirting with obscenity.

Posted by: shrink2 | November 12, 2010 10:33 AM | Report abuse

This is key, because yesterday it became unclear--BECAUSE WE MADE THE RIDICULOUS MISTAKE OF ACTUALLY BELIEVING WHAT WE READ ON THAT HUFFPO RAG, AND THEN OVER-PARSING EVERY WORD THAT CAME OUT OF THE WHITE HOUSE--whether making the middle class cuts permanent was still the President's starting point in negotiations with Republicans, who will only accept extending the middle class and high end cuts extended for the same duration.

There, fixed it for ya.

Posted by: converse | November 12, 2010 10:52 AM | Report abuse

All, good new Adam Serwer post on the dynamic between Obama and GOP:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/11/bipartisanship_is_irrelevant.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | November 12, 2010 11:01 AM | Report abuse

I would love to play a high stakes game of Texas Hold'em with Obama and Axlerod. My own personal stimulus.

Posted by: lmsinca | November 12, 2010 11:13 AM | Report abuse

The professional LEFT is always responsible for repeated, Democrat clobberings that happen with clockwork-like regularity. The looney leftists are pulling the strings that animate the Democrat, party base. These leftists should have dunce caps permanently sewn onto their pointy heads and cast out, into political oblivion. Then and only then will the Democrat party be America's party again.

But, that is not happening so the Democrat party will limp along as an also-ran party for awhile until another talking head, stuffed suit comes along to save them from their misery as Bill Clinton and B.O. did.

Right now they are recycling the usual suspects. Another peculiar trait of liberal Democrats, to reward failure and keep pushing failed policies.

Posted by: battleground51 | November 12, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Ethan,

Sorry to dissapoint you.

I pointed out Rush's probable reason for saying what he said (I did not hear the particular joke, but most of what led up to it) as being that he was "illustrating absurdity by being absurd." It does not necessarily follow that all his purported contreversial statements are intended to "illustrate absurdity by being absurd." I'm suspecting that Rush Limbaugh, a talk show radio host, makes a lot of contreversial statements, depending on whose ox is being gored, every day. It's part of his "schtick" and a way to keep both those that love him and those that hate him listening. My guess is that you, and many on the left, tend to hone in on comments about race, feminism, homosexuatlity. A Republican might complain about his constant attack of "establisment Repbulicans" and the party itself as outrageous and problematic.

My point about Representative Clyburn was that the media is silent about the racial implications of his pursuit of a leadership position. I do not believe that the media would be silent about the racial implications if it involved Republican leadership. I never mentioned Chairman Steele in this context, you just did. But since you brought him up, I think the media's interest in Chairman Steele's tenure is viewed entirely throught the prism of race. I think it makes my point, and frankly Limbaugh's point, perectly. I myself had higher hopes for Chairman Steele, in his role, he is a compelling speaker and, I think, inspiriing. However, he appears to use his position more in self promotion than in helping the party. I ask you to compare and contrast his tenure and Chairman of the RNC to Haley Barbour. I do not think he (Chairman Steele) deserves another term. I think the media, with Chairman Steele's assistance, will paint his either failure at securing another term, or coming close to losing, in terms of inveterate Repbulican racism. I think it would be wrong, You may disagree.

Ethan, I've tried to answer as honestly as I can. Obvioulsy, we disagree on a number of topics. That to me is the spice of life. One of the things that you may want to consider though is that people who have ideological positions different from you may hold those views sincerely. There can be more than one right answer to a question, and a different annswer may be wrong, in your view, but it does not mean the holder of that view knows it's wrong but holds it anyway. I'm truley sorry you think I'm lying, or not being fully truthful. Please consider that you tend to accusme everybody on the right of the same thing. Last week you accused Kevin of being disengenuous. Yesterday, you accussed sbj3 of the same thing. I ask you, in all sincerity, to consider that opposing views can, and often are, sincerely held.

Ethan, I admire your passion and appreciate the dialogue.

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | November 12, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Ethan,

Sorry to dissapoint you.

I pointed out Rush's probable reason for saying what he said (I did not hear the particular joke, but most of what led up to it) as being that he was "illustrating absurdity by being absurd." It does not necessarily follow that all his purported contreversial statements are intended to "illustrate absurdity by being absurd." I'm suspecting that Rush Limbaugh, a talk show radio host, makes a lot of contreversial statements, depending on whose ox is being gored, every day. It's part of his "schtick" and a way to keep both those that love him and those that hate him listening. My guess is that you, and many on the left, tend to hone in on comments about race, feminism, homosexuatlity. A Republican might complain about his constant attack of "establisment Repbulicans" and the party itself as outrageous and problematic.

My point about Representative Clyburn was that the media is silent about the racial implications of his pursuit of a leadership position. I do not believe that the media would be silent about the racial implications if it involved Republican leadership. I never mentioned Chairman Steele in this context, you just did. But since you brought him up, I think the media's interest in Chairman Steele's tenure is viewed entirely throught the prism of race. I think it makes my point, and frankly Limbaugh's point, perectly. I myself had higher hopes for Chairman Steele, in his role, he is a compelling speaker and, I think, inspiriing. However, he appears to use his position more in self promotion than in helping the party. I ask you to compare and contrast his tenure and Chairman of the RNC to Haley Barbour. I do not think he (Chairman Steele) deserves another term. I think the media, with Chairman Steele's assistance, will paint his either failure at securing another term, or coming close to losing, in terms of inveterate Repbulican racism. I think it would be wrong, You may disagree.

Ethan, I've tried to answer as honestly as I can. Obvioulsy, we disagree on a number of topics. That to me is the spice of life. One of the things that you may want to consider though is that people who have ideological positions different from you may hold those views sincerely. There can be more than one right answer to a question, and a different annswer may be wrong, in your view, but it does not mean the holder of that view knows it's wrong but holds it anyway. I'm truley sorry you think I'm lying, or not being fully truthful. Please consider that you tend to accusme everybody on the right of the same thing. Last week you accused Kevin of being disengenuous. Yesterday, you accussed sbj3 of the same thing. I ask you, in all sincerity, to consider that opposing views can, and often are, sincerely held.

Ethan, I admire your passion and appreciate the dialogue.

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | November 12, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Troll, I don't have time to respond now, but will in Happy Hour if not sooner.

Thanks for the kind words. THIS is the kind of dialog that I really really like. In fact, it's why I'm here. If I wanted to post in a left-wing echo-chamber, I would. It is THIS dialog between ideologies that fascinates me, that we need so desperately in this country, and which is so often sparked with rage.

As for calling people disingenuous, it is a matter of being true to facts but also true to ones' self and true to the dialog. If I feel that someone is willfully or subconsciously suppressing facts or suppressing their true feelings, well by God I'm going to call it out as I see fit. And as I've said before, I would hope any one of you on the Right do so to any of us on the Left -- so long as it is based on the facts. I don't take kindly the assertion that I support an illegitimate president, on the one hand, but on the other if my facts or numbers are off I will gladly recheck. More later, cheers...

Posted by: Ethan2010 | November 12, 2010 12:15 PM | Report abuse


You guys should stop complaining because, one the health care we have now isnt as good as it was supposed to be. also the law has just been signed so give it some time. so if u want to say u have the right to choose tell that to ur congress men or state official. If you do not have insurance and need one You can find full medical coverage at the lowest price check http://bit.ly/bandYw .If you have health insurance and do not care about cost just be happy about it and trust me you are not going to loose anything!

Posted by: patriciajeff13 | November 13, 2010 4:43 AM | Report abuse

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