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Posted at 8:42 AM ET, 12/ 2/2010

The Morning Plum

By Greg Sargent

* Five GOP heavy-hitters make the case for New START: Now that the secretaries of state for the past five GOP presidents have argued that we must ratify New START, surely that will be enough to overcome Jon Kyl's objections.

Key nugget: The five conspicuously note that the Obama administration has provided "reasonable answers" to all lingering questions about the treaty.

Oddly enough, none of those five saw fit to mention the relevance of the Bush tax cuts, which Kyl wants to see resolved by Monday for New START have a prayer of passing this year.

* Dems set to accept "compromise" on Bush tax cuts? All signs indicate that Dems and Republicans will agree to temporary extension of all the cuts.

If that happens, the key question becomes: What are Dems getting in return for agreeing to do it the GOP's way temporarily, kicking the can down the road on the understanding that we're just going to have this conversation again in a few years?

* Dems resigned to the inevitable: Democratic aides on the Hill are already preparing themselves for Dem leaders to give in on the tax cuts without getting much of anything in return.

* What to watch today: The Senate Armed Services Committee this morning kicks off two days of hearings on Don't Ask Don't Tell. Keep an eye on how GOP moderates respond to the Pentagon's report -- if they seem to be signaling that the report was persuasive, this will increase the pressure on Harry Reid to allot the time necessary for debate and amendments, removing the final pretext moderates have for opposing repeal.

* Question of the day: E.J. Dionne marvels at the perfect confluence of the deficit-commission report coming out just as Dems appear ready to "cave" on the Bush tax cuts:

How can anyone take a deficit-reduction proposal seriously when the main order of business in Congress is to make sure we widen the deficit by keeping all of the Bush tax cuts?

Easy, E.J.: Because in this town, all things produced by bipartisan wise-man panels that derive their authority from nothing more than the approval of centrist opinionmakers are by definition serious.

* Dems too scared to fight in this media environment? Jonathan Cohn seems to agree with yours truly that Dems tend to decide in advance they can't win protracted struggles once Republicans go on the attack:

The wimp factor is also a problem. Many Democrats are simply too scared to fight right now. They think the merits of arguments don't make a difference -- that, between Rush Limbaugh and Fox News, they just can't win media arguments anymore.

* New MoveOn ad demands Obama get tough with GOP: MoveOn goes up with a new spot on national cable calling on Obama to stop getting "pushed around."

Key takeaway: This is another sign that the left will continue encouraging the perception of Obama as weak and spineless -- something that could prove very damaging politically in the long run -- until he draws a much harder line against Republicans.

* Looming fight to keep an eye on: In a sign of the times, the Environmental Protection Agency, which is preparing new measures to curb carbon dioxide and other pollutants, braces for a massive backlash from the new House GOP majority.

* History lesson of the day: Dana Milbank reminds us that the push by some House GOPs to allow states to nullify federal laws they don't like bears a passing resemblance to the events that led to the Civil War and Jim Crow.

* Filibuster reform update: It's a good thing that there's a new crop of young Dem senators who do not share the old-guard's delusions about the current dynamics in the Senate.

* Bold pronouncement of the day: Kevin Drum, on Obama's continuing quest for bipartisan compromise:

"Obama has another two or three weeks to prove he's not an idiot."

* And the Tea Partyers demand full repeal or else: In another sign that GOP leaders will be hard pressed to keep the Tea Party happy on health reform, the movement's leaders are now insisting that even "repeal and replace" is unacceptable. Only full repeal, without any "replace" nonsense, will do.

What else is happening?

By Greg Sargent  | December 2, 2010; 8:42 AM ET
Categories:  Foreign policy and national security, House Dems, House GOPers, Morning Plum, Senate Dems, Senate Republicans, Tea Party, deficit, taxes  
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Next: Lefty group running ad slamming Obama -- in Iowa

Comments

Kyl maybe truly holding the START treaty hostage with tax cuts for the rich.

According to Politico there may be a deal in the pipe that next week that there will be a vote on START and there will be an extension of tax cuts for the rich.

http://www.politico.com/morningdefense/

"BREAKING: DEAL CLOSE ON NEW START? – After a high-level meeting yesterday, the Senate may have reached a deal to vote on New START as soon as next week, Morning Defense has learned. Some details weren’t yet complete, according to a source familiar with the discussions, but it’s possible the arrangement could involve a rumored compromise under which the Senate would both ratify the arms treaty and extend the Bush tax cuts, giving wins to both Democrats and Republicans. "

I don't know if that was what was negotiated which is vote on START for tax cuts for the rich but Kyl happens to be negotiating for both.

In terms of getting NOTHING for extending everybody's tax cuts, according to the WSJ the tax cut "compromise" will include unemployment benefits, Obama's "making work pay" tax cuts, and other tax cuts for businesses, etc.

I hope the deal is that for every year the tax cuts for the rich are extended there will be a year of unemployment benefits.

Posted by: maritza1 | December 2, 2010 8:55 AM | Report abuse

"In a sign of the times, the Environmental Protection Agency, which is preparing new measures to curb carbon dioxide and other pollutants, braces for a massive backlash from the new House GOP majority."

No worries, Greg. The GOP hasn't even taken over the House yet and they've ALREADY solved the global warming crisis:

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1210/45802.html

Are these guys awesome or what? Who knew that closing your eyes, sticking your fingers in your ears and saying nyahhh nyahhh actually works after you're 4 years old?

(re-post, sort of)

Posted by: wbgonne | December 2, 2010 8:56 AM | Report abuse

At least we won't have Joe Barton to worry about for awhile. Evidently, repealing HCR is the first item of business for the Energy committee. What an, errum, interesting reading of his demesne.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | December 2, 2010 8:59 AM | Report abuse

"Dems set to accept "compromise" on Bush tax cuts? All signs indicate that Dems and Republicans will agree to temporary extension of all the cuts. If that happens, the key question becomes: What are Dems getting in return for agreeing to do it the GOP's way temporarily, kicking the can down the road on the understanding that we're just going to have this conversation again in a few years? Dems resigned to the inevitable: Democratic aides on the Hill are already preparing themselves for Dem leaders to give in on the tax cuts without getting much of anything in return."

"Dems resigned to the inevitable": I like that phrase, Greg. It aptly depicts the prevailing view of Democratic "Leaders" as the Democratic Party crumbles before their eyes.

Posted by: wbgonne | December 2, 2010 8:59 AM | Report abuse

"Dems too scared to fight in this media environment?"

Who could resist following such bold and brave leaders!?

Posted by: wbgonne | December 2, 2010 9:03 AM | Report abuse

@Kevin -

If you have a griddle bottomed pan:

Melt some margarine in it, or use light [not virgin] olive oil, over low-medium to medium heat.

Have ready two slices of sourdough rye bread, a #2 slice of muenster, spicy brown mustard, and paper thin slice of tomato. Make sandwich of these ingredients in obvious way, adding basil to the THIN tomato slice and salt and pepper to suit.

When the griddle pan is hot enough [spritzing water with your finger tips sizzles when it hits the olive oil or margarine] put sandwich in griddle pan, COVER, then turn after 60 sec. Follow the same procedure until sandwich is grilled to suit. Darkens much faster in margarine than in olive oil, muenster drips a bit at edges, etc.

Enjoy.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | December 2, 2010 9:08 AM | Report abuse

understanding that we're just going to have this conversation again in a few years

________________________


Is that ALL the liberals want to do - raise taxes ????


The liberals are like women - what's mine is mine - and what's yours we will continue to talk about.

.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 2, 2010 9:10 AM | Report abuse

Ezra Klein reports:

"You don't go out and say you're going to freeze federal pay on your own," says one angry Hill staffer. "You go sit across a table from someone, say, ‘I'm willing to do this, but this is what you’ve got to give me.’ That’s how this works."

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/ezra-klein/2010/12/obamas_bad_poker.html#more

I hope President Alan Colmes finds that Presidential Handbook real soon.

Posted by: wbgonne | December 2, 2010 9:14 AM | Report abuse

"History lesson of the day: Dana Milbank reminds us that the push by some House GOPs to allow states to nullify federal laws they don't like bears a passing resemblance to the events that led to the Civil War and Jim Crow."

This must be what "traditional conservatism" means.

Posted by: bernielatham | December 2, 2010 9:14 AM | Report abuse

Don't Ask

The interest groups which leaked parts of the report - they mischaracterized it dramatically -

There are mulitiple polls and numbers in the report which do NOT support the repeal of Don't Ask.


Clearly, the interest groups have run wild with the media - Greg has wildly pushed this with little balance.


58% of Marines STATE CLEARLY that putting gays in the military would hurt readiness.


Again, a few polls asking 19 or 20 year olds their opinion has little relevance on major issues of force readiness and military strenth. And the costs of transition.


The report is talking about massive SENSITIVITY training -


The military is about SHOOTING PEOPLE AND FIGHTING WARS, not sensitivity.


The whole thing becomes ridiculous.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 2, 2010 9:18 AM | Report abuse

Kevin, use the olive oil, you're not really supposed to be indulging in margarine. LOL

Re the lame duck, scooting around the halls of Congress on one leg, do Start and unemployment benefits and let the rest expire. They probably won't pass but at least the duck won't have to hide it's head in embarrassment and shame.

Posted by: lmsinca | December 2, 2010 9:18 AM | Report abuse

What else?

From Ballon Juice:

"At some point, the Obama administration is going to have to give his supporters some reason to, you know, support him."

http://www.balloon-juice.com/2010/12/01/the-first-priority-is-millionaires/

Later.

Posted by: wbgonne | December 2, 2010 9:19 AM | Report abuse

Ollie North (of course) doesn't like gay people. He has a copyright on the sacred "mano e mano" and doesn't want it corrupted (make war, not love - in the name of jesus!).

http://mediamatters.org/blog/201012010028

And he's advancing the same bigotries and fear-mongering that we've seen quoted from the earlier period where the inclusion of african americans was debated.

Perhaps this is "traditional conservatism"?

Posted by: bernielatham | December 2, 2010 9:21 AM | Report abuse

"...the duck won't have to hide it's head in embarrassment and shame"

Don't worry about that, they have no shame. There is a narcissism in Washington.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 2, 2010 9:26 AM | Report abuse

Somehow, I don't think this will be classified as "traditional conservatism"...

"A self-made millionaire Republican is campaigning in Florida on a platform of spending cuts and less government...This is Gary E. Johnson -- a former New Mexico governor and *marijuana-legalization advocate* -- who's putting out Florida feelers in a possible bid for the presidency in 2012."

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2010/12/02/104579/gop-presidential-hopeful-johnson.html#ixzz16xqiQ5zx

I'm guessing he'll have some trouble with the liberty-loving modern movement. (ps...Buckley eventually gravitated to a drug legalization position)

Posted by: bernielatham | December 2, 2010 9:27 AM | Report abuse

And given the news this morning of an additional Republican voice joining the prior Republican sec defs on the importance of getting START done...I just want to reiterate that Colin Powell is not an authentic "conservative" or a true Republican and never has been. He has never had a pilonidal cyst nor college deferments. Thus he's never done the real work we demand of traditional conservative role models.

Posted by: bernielatham | December 2, 2010 9:34 AM | Report abuse

@wbgonne

Ballon Juice's tagline wins the morning:

"Peak Wingnut was a lie" The whole START treaty debacle is proof positive.

And thanks for the great coverage of how the push filibuster reform is playing out, Greg.

Personally, I think Sen.Dodd is suffering from a horrible case of Beltway Goggles.

Posted by: michael_conrad | December 2, 2010 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Greg,
Can you tell us why nobody is seriously talking about passing a temporary (1-2 year) extension of all the tax cuts, followed immediately (during the lame duck session) by a vote to make the middle class cuts permanent? How would the Republicans in the Senate be able to hold all of their troops together against a permanent tax cut for the middle class if the tax cut for the rich were already temporarily extended? Isn't this a winner?

Posted by: billy_burdett | December 2, 2010 9:36 AM | Report abuse

@SavetheRainforestRising

"The military is about SHOOTING PEOPLE AND FIGHTING WARS, not sensitivity."

In other words, "America, F*** Yeah!"

Shorter Rain Man: Here's where I throw out some terms like "force readiness" in a pathetic attempt to disguise my mindless homophobia.

Posted by: michael_conrad | December 2, 2010 9:46 AM | Report abuse

One more thing Blame It On The Rainforest, or whatever your next name will be.

You remind me of Joad Cressbeckler.

http://www.theonion.com/video/old-grizzled-thirdparty-candidate-may-steal-suppor,14264/

"You can't PUT A BUCKET over a pig's head, it'll just MAKE IT SKITTISH!"

Good luck trying to repeal the 20th century and prevent public policy from reflecting the reality that we're living in the 21st.

Posted by: michael_conrad | December 2, 2010 9:55 AM | Report abuse

@Michael - get TrollHunter and put him on ignore.

As an extension of Greg's Cohn's notes on this new media environment and its consequences for rational discourse, Jay Rosen talks about what he sees as a key lesson we can draw from the wikileaks event...

"The main reason why Wikileaks causes so much anxiety with our journalists is that they haven’t really faced the fact that the watchdog press they treasured so much died under George Bush. It failed, and instead of rushing to analyze this failure and prevent it from ever happening again, instead of a truth-and-reconciliation-commission-style effort that would look at how could this happen, mostly what our journalists did, with a few exceptions, was they just went on to the next story. The watchdog press died, and what we have is Wikileaks instead."

http://vimeo.com/17393373 (text from John Cole at Balloon Juice)

Posted by: bernielatham | December 2, 2010 9:58 AM | Report abuse

", the key question becomes: What are Dems getting in return for agreeing to do it the GOP's way temporarily, ...."

What the democrats gain if they cave to the republicans is what they have been told they will gain.
A complete revolt of their voters.
there will be total upheaval and rebellion. and they will find themselves without any supporters.

Posted by: vwcat | December 2, 2010 9:59 AM | Report abuse

michael_conrad | December 2, 2010 9:46 AM

You are making personal attacks - to disguise that you are an idiot


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 2, 2010 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Michael Conrad

The Republicans already own the 21st Century

The American People have rejected the silly liberal agenda - including teaching young children the gay agenda in schools at a young age.


YOU should get on the right side of history.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 2, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Take a look at this BBC graphic visualization of the changes of health and wealth in the world's nations over the last 200 years. Not only is it an example of how graphics can serve as an incredibly efficient path to educational goals (learn/grasp a lot and really fast) it's rather thought-provoking...

http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/2010/12/200_years_in_4_minutes.php#more?ref=fpblg

Some thoughts provoked for me:
1) the positive consequences of countries previously under colonization gaining independence
2) the undeniable benefits to the world's populations from the post-war flows of goods, services and wealth to many more corners of the world
3) and related to that last point, the realization of fundamental liberal goals of reduced inequalities and reduced suffering

But some other ideas arise as well:
4) what does this do to the conceptualizations of people who might have seen themselves or their nations or cultures as uniquely deserving of a higher place in the order of things? (I once did some work for a very wealthy Vancouver woman who chose a Bentley because of "all the Chinese women with their BMWs and Mercedes")

Posted by: bernielatham | December 2, 2010 10:29 AM | Report abuse

I've got an election collection that includes stuff like a stack of Eugene McCarthy bumper stickers. So I am looking at all the Barak Obama hats and t shirts and I am trying to imagine what happened, I mean the cause of what happened.

For me, he just sort of fell apart, like an Airbus plane, the tail just fell off...I used to make jokes about someone stole his Mojo; it happened early in the health "reform" process. I was so proud of him at the beginning of 2009 (Lilly Ledbetter law, etc.) I actually thought he might be one of America's great presidents. What the heck happened to Barak Obama?

Posted by: shrink2 | December 2, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

It's interesting that Ezra compares Obama's negotiating style to a really bad poker player. If Ezra quits supplying the warm and fuzzy hugs maybe they'll catch on, they seem to ignore the rest of us. I know I compared the federal employee freeze to putting your cards face up on the table. Plus it was a bad hand anyway.

Have a good day all. Set your sights low and you won't be disappointed.

Posted by: lmsinca | December 2, 2010 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Overall, I think the Wikileaks sheds a good light on our country tbh.

Sure, there are a couple silly things said or done but there wasn't a flood of omfg that was on a STRF level of stupidity there cabals.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | December 2, 2010 10:36 AM | Report abuse

And hurah on Obama's banning of drilling off of the East/West coasts and off Florida's east coast.

The last thing VA needs is a spill into our Chesapeake Bay. That would be devastating.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | December 2, 2010 10:42 AM | Report abuse

I caught this yesterday and forgot to link it. Just when you think they're done messing with us, they come up with something new. I sarcastically called for a rejuvenation of debtors prisons the other day, maybe it's not so far-fetched.

Back to work for me.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

WASHINGTON — As Americans continue to lose their homes in record numbers, the Federal Reserve is considering making it much harder for homeowners to stop foreclosures and escape predatory home loans with onerous terms.

The Fed's proposal to amend a 42-year-old provision of the federal Truth in Lending Act has angered labor, civil rights and consumer advocacy groups along with a slew of foreclosure defense attorneys.

They're not only asking the Fed to withdraw the proposal, they also want any future changes to the law to be handled by the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which begins its work next year.


Read more: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2010/12/01/104568/fed-wants-to-strip-a-key-protection.html#ixzz16y9ub7TW

Posted by: lmsinca | December 2, 2010 10:42 AM | Report abuse

mikefromArlington at 10:36 AM


The wikileak cables did a great deal of damage to our country - AND they have caused a situation in which foreign officials are going to be RELUCTANT to talk to American officials and be honest


____________________________


I don't think you get it - American NEEDS intelligence to protect itself.


In the 90s, Clinton gradually pulled many of our intelligence resources out of the Middle East


That turned out to be an incredibly stupid move - leading to 9/11.


NOW you are saying it is a good thing that we might experience more "intelligence blindness" ???


let's be serious

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 2, 2010 10:43 AM | Report abuse

The liberal agenda is dead


Are their any serious policy discussions to be had ???


I mean ones that actually have a chance to pass - and are not basing their passage on some devious "bait and switch" Obama scheme ???

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 2, 2010 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Actually, let me clarify that.

It shed a good light on our competence in the State Departments diplomatic arena.

Our security looks really really bad now though.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | December 2, 2010 10:57 AM | Report abuse

thanks Mike, that's right, the State Department is ok, America? not so much...

"Neighbors spotted the snowman with a pointed top Wednesday in the front yard of a Hayden [Idaho] home near an elementary school. They say the man at the home flies Aryan Nations flags and on Halloween passed out bullet casings instead of candy. The small town of Hayden used to be an outpost of the white separatist group." AP

Posted by: shrink2 | December 2, 2010 11:01 AM | Report abuse

@Mike Conrad - 37th, sorry, Rain Forest, accidentally stumbled onto something. The military is about preventing and fighting wars, not someone's sensitivity. That is to say, is someone is too sensitive to be handle being around gay men and women, they should probably seek other employment. Military policy is about force effectiveness, not protecting the sensitivities of the small fraction who can't handle it.

BTW - Is there an over/under on when 37th will start blaming Obama for the failure of the 2022 World Cup bid? Perhaps Qatar will build a custom island with stadii for the Cup.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | December 2, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

As always the Onion gets it right before anyone else:

"Democrats Hoping To Take Control Of Congress From Republican Minority In 2010"

http://twitter.com/TheOnion/status/4323993453

"Democrats: 'If We're Gonna Lose, Let's Go Down Running Away From Every Legislative Accomplishment We've Made'"

http://www.theonion.com/articles/democrats-if-were-gonna-lose-lets-go-down-running,18333/

Posted by: jnc4p | December 2, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

All, this is pretty interesting, lefty group is running an ad hitting Obama in Iowa:


http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/12/lefty_group_running_ad_slammin.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | December 2, 2010 11:05 AM | Report abuse

"Five GOP heavy-hitters make the case for New START: Now that the secretaries of state for the past five GOP presidents have argued that we must ratify New START..."
---------------------------------------------

RINOs! Obviously.

Posted by: CalD | December 2, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

"This is another sign that the left will continue encouraging the perception of Obama as weak and spineless -- something that could prove very damaging politically in the long run..."

So when President Palin and a filibuster-proof Republican Senate majority take over in 2015 and proceed to move us even more quickly towards rule of The Iron Heel, everybody can say, "Thank you SO much, MoveOn and Progressive Change!!"

Posted by: converse | December 2, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

"Perhaps Qatar will build a custom island..."

Bobby Jindal can be their PR flak.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 2, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

"Have a good day all. Set your sights low and you won't be disappointed."

I always do when I read this blog. ; )

Posted by: quarterback1 | December 2, 2010 12:11 PM | Report abuse

"Have a good day all. Set your sights low and you won't be disappointed."

I always do when I read this blog. ; )
Posted by: quarterback1 | December 2, 2010 12:11 PM | Report abuse

And yet here you are, day after day, attempting to sabotage discussion by reasonable people who really hope to address the country's problems and with whom you agree on nothing. Funny, that.

Posted by: wbgonne | December 2, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse

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