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Posted at 7:45 AM ET, 01/ 5/2011

Morning Bits

By Jennifer Rubin

In other words, he drives the left batty. "[Senate Minority Leader] McConnell, 68, is owlish, phlegmatic, and gray, and often looks bothered, as though lunch isn't agreeing with him. He has been described as having "the natural charisma of an oyster.... McConnell nevertheless manipulates the press masterfully, using methods that are head-smackingly obvious and yet still elude most politicians. He knows exactly what he wants to say, repeats it with emphasis, then stops." Read the whole thing, as they say. For the past two years, McConnell has been winning the argument that Obama and the Democrats have essentially ceded, about the value and meaning of the policies they fought so hard to pass. Much of the electorate, and the media too, has come to accept the basic outlines of the worldview that McConnell expounded in Beattyville [Kentucky]."

In other words, conservatives should stop griping about a reasonable civil defense plan in the event of nuclear attack. "Encouraging people to take even modest steps to prepare themselves in advance will undoubtedly save lives, even if the terrorist attack never comes and Washington is, instead, struck by an asteroid, an earthquake, or a hurricane. As we head into a 21st century that appears to be a lot less secure than 1990s prognostications suggested, it's probably best to prepare for the worst."

In other words, should they walk the plank a second time? "House Democrats who voted against the healthcare bill last year are weighing whether to side with the GOP during next week's vote to repeal the legislation."

In other words, Jay Cost would be a better RNC chairman than Michael Steele. "In John McCormack's interview with Michael Steele, the chairman of the Republican National Committee said: 'Tell me what election we lost because I gave $15,000 to Guam.' What follows is a list of close House races that the GOP lost by just a handful of votes. Would $15,000 from the Republican National Committee have helped? I would say, yes." This is one example of why RNC committeemen are certain that Steele has to go.

In other words, Democrats are in danger of becoming the old-fogie party. "Overall, the influx of 87 new Republican House members who will be sworn in Wednesday will lower the average age of House Republicans to 54.9 from 56.5 in the last Congress, a new Wall Street Journal analysis of ages in the new Congress shows.By contrast, Democrats in the House are moving in the opposite direction on the age scale. The 2010 election swept from office some of the party's younger members from moderate swing districts, and the result is a Democratic caucus that is both more liberal and grayer. The average age of a Democratic House member will rise to 60.2 from 58."

In other words, the left is freaking out. "The floating of William Daley for the post of White House chief of staff has started a predictable, but nevertheless revealing examination of how his personal politics line up with those of the president.Much discussed has been Daley's fairly public disapproval of the president's health care reform package, which he castigated as either an overreach or a miscalculation.... Equally illuminating, however, is the stance Daley took on the other major piece of domestic legislation passed during the past two years: financial regulatory reform. Daley, reportedly, was not exactly enamored with a new consumer financial protection agency, a key element of the plan and one of the president's most cherished provisions, going so far as to lobby White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel to drop the idea." (h/t Ben Smith) Umm, sounds like Daley could be a Republican president's chief of staff.

In other words, Obama should stop trying to engage North Korea. "The administration seems ready to go wobbly on North Korea, and in the process China. It has shifted from supporting whatever tough measures President Lee Myung-bak wanted to take to nudging him back to the failed six-party talks and congratulating China for its diplomacy in getting North Korea to signal agreement to talk. This is the worst of the bad habits in Asia we must break. The North did not just test a missile this time; they twice killed South Koreans in cold blood last year. No president can allow his people to be killed without responding. We seem not to understand that. The first task for the U.S. and South Korea is to re-establish deterrence, which could well mean proportionate retaliation against the North."

In other words, tweeting might not be the best way for Sarah Palin to get her views across. "In a retweet last night, Sarah Palin suggested that she supports repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell." Seems like a reasonable conclusion.

By Jennifer Rubin  | January 5, 2011; 7:45 AM ET
Categories:  Morning Bits  
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Comments

No one commenting on the age and number of Republican freshmen seems to have explicitly addressed one of the most significant political ramifications of this shift. Republicans are deepening their future bench; Democrats are looking at attrition. While House newbies were treated like cannon fodder by Pelosi, the inclusive structural changes designed by Speaker Boehner will give their Republican replacements valuable legislative experience & identifiable leadership roles which will allow them to consolidate their constituencies in their home districts and the reformist electorate at large. This will not just be of key importance in the long term, but also in holding onto Republican gains when Democrats in the Senate & White house can still stymie actual implementation of the Republican agenda.

Posted by: Fithian | January 5, 2011 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Mitch McConnell doesn't drive me batty. He's actually better at putting me to sleep on the couch than golf is.

Posted by: danw1 | January 5, 2011 12:18 PM | Report abuse

"In other words, he drives the left batty"

Really? Only presumptous cymbal monkeys drive us batty.

Posted by: danw1 | January 5, 2011 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Democrats have less children. It really is that simple. This is one of the most important reasons why Democrats are hoping to increase the numbers of illegal Hispanic immigrants.

Posted by: DavidThomson | January 5, 2011 2:27 PM | Report abuse

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