1.) Axelrod thanks Romney for Obamacare — Poor Mitt Romney: The former Massachusetts governor wants to be president so bad, but he has a glassy-eyed albatross named “Romneycare” hanging from his neck, and dead birds are out this year. In an exit interview with USA Today, Obama advisor David Axelrod made sure the knot on Romney’s necklace was good and tight. Axelrod “pointedly praised…Mitt Romney in a way that spotlighted Romney’s vulnerability within the GOP for signing a state health care law that parallels the new federal law in some ways,” reports USA Today. Romney “did some interesting things there on health care, you know,” Axelrod said. “We got some good ideas from him.” This is code for: “Do you hate Obama for Obamacare? Then you hate Romney, too, even if you don’t know it.” The other thing this says is that Axelrod thinks Massachusetts–where “health care spending is projected to nearly double to $123 billion in 2020, increasing 8 percent faster than the state’s gross domestic product (GDP)”–is doing it right.
2.) Marco Rubio more Clydesdale than Lipizzaner, says former colleague — “A year ago, then-candidate Marco Rubio received a megastar welcome when he was introduced by Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) as a keynote speaker at the Conservative Political Action Conference annual gathering in Washington, D.C.,” reports Roll Call. “But when CPAC kicks off next week, Florida’s freshman Senator plans to be miles away from the gathering — with Lincoln Day dinners in Miami-Dade and Pinellas counties as the top priorities on his February calendar.” Is Rubio embarrassed by all the gays at CPAC? According to his flack, Rubio is skipping CPAC for the same reason he declined to join the Senate Tea Party Caucus: “The most important thing for grass-roots tea party members is how you vote, it’s not what caucus you join or what TV shows you are on or what speeches you give.” Rubio’s commitment to paying his dues and staying out of the spotlight is in keeping with his character, a Florida pol said. “If anyone who supported him thought that they were electing a show horse they were wrong; he’s a workhorse.” As if that metaphor were not enough, the colleague added, “A show horse without substance fizzles away fairly quickly.” New campaign slogan: Marco Rubio: The kind of horse that won’t dissolve.
3.) New poll proves Tea Party has completely shed ‘weird kid’ image — “About 7 in 10 national adults, including 88% of Republicans, say it is important that Republican leaders in Congress take the Tea Party movement’s positions and objectives into account as they address the nation’s problems,” reports Gallup. “Although few Democrats (6%) are supporters of the Tea Party or even have a favorable view of it (11%), more than half say it is important that the Republican Party take the Tea Party’s positions into account. Why this is the case is unclear, although Democrats may simply feel that the opposing party should pay attention to all of its constituencies.” Or they’re hoping for a schism!
4.) GOP promises to do something to Fannie and Freddie — “Republican lawmakers on Capitol Hill are planning to hold a hearing on February 9 to begin tackling reform of government sponsored enterprises (GSE) like mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac,” reports The Daily Caller’s Amanda Carey, who adds that “reform of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is shaping up to be a primary area of concern for the GOP as Republican lawmakers figure out how to address the two financial institutions that were left out of the Dodd-Frank Financial Reform and Consumer Protection Act that was passed last summer.”
5.) Ross Douthat: Would dumping Mubarak decades ago have saved us from 9/11? — “As the world ponders the fate of Egypt after Hosni Mubarak, Americans should ponder this: It’s quite possible that if Mubarak had not ruled Egypt as a dictator for the last 30 years, the World Trade Center would still be standing,” writes conservative wunderkind Ross Douthat. His argument? “By visiting imprisonment, torture and exile upon Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, Mubarak foreclosed any possibility of an Islamic revolution in his own country. But he also helped radicalize and internationalize his country’s Islamists, pushing men like Ayman Al-Zawahiri — Osama bin Laden’s chief lieutenant, and arguably the real brains behind Al Qaeda — out of Egyptian politics and into the global jihad.” Not only that, but “for many young Egyptians, restless amid political and economic stagnation, it’s been a short leap from hating their dictator to hating his patrons in the United States. One of the men who made this leap was an architecture student named Mohamed Atta, who was at the cockpit when American Airlines Flight 11 hit the World Trade Center.”
6.) Battle of the billionaires — Liberals of all stripes waddled, scootered, bussed, and flocked to Palm Springs this past weekend to protest a fundraising meeting hosted by billionaire free-markets advocates the Koch Brothers. “Billionaires poisoning our politics was the central theme of the protests,” writes the Washington Examiner’s Tim Carney. “But nothing is quite as it seems in modern politics: The protest’s organizer, the nonprofit Common Cause, is funded by billionaire George Soros.” The real theme, then, was conservative billionaires poisoning our politics, in this case, by asking that government do less so that Americans do more. But Carney debunks this quite handily: “We know that other liberal philanthropists use their wealth to advance big-government positions that enrich them. Take Warren Buffett, that relentless champion of the estate tax. His support for a high inheritance tax could be civic-mindedness, but it could also be related to his life insurance holdings and his tendency to buy up successful family businesses forced to sell out by the death tax — that’s how he got the Buffalo News.” But the real difference between the two groups is that “only one side is trying to compel others to conform to its preferences.” Guess what: It ain’t the Koch Bros.