1.) Boehner to wear down budget rock not by force, but by constant falling — Speaker John Boehner is quite the Confucian these days. Late last night, Boehner and crew “unveiled a ‘Plan B’ on the budget, a one week stop gap spending plan which would also fund the military through the end of the fiscal year,” reports the AJC. Plan B is a fitting name, as the Speaker appears to want to abort a shutdown in utero. In fact, Rep. Hal Rogers told reporters last night that his party wanted to avoid a shutdown “at all costs.” The $12 billion Plan B would cut $1.5 billion from “High Speed Rail Corridors and Intercity Passenger Rail Service Capital Assistance,” $139 million from NASA, and $22 million from the Census Bureau. The bill also “includes a provision preventing both federal and local funds from being used to provide abortions in the District of Columbia.” While the Tea Party freshmen have made it clear they would prefer not to pass continuing resolutions indefinitely, a suddenly savvy Boehner wrote year-end defense funding into Plan B. Basically, the GOP is using the old “vote for this or you hate the troops” trick on itself.
2.) Paul Ryan: Obama’s ‘budget permanently enlarges the size of government’ — Enter stage right: The Path to Prosperity, which the world got its first glimpse of yesterday, and which Rep. Paul Ryan is selling in this morning’s WSJ. “Whether we cut $33 billion or $61 billion—that is, whether we shave 2% or 4% off of this year’s deficit—is important,” writes Ryan of Washington’s current budget battle. “It’s a sign that the election did in fact change the debate in Washington from how much we should spend to how much spending we should cut.” Or, you know, “how little we should cut,” or even, “how much should we preserve,” but this is beside the point, which is that deficit reduction must happen now, or it will happen never. “The president’s recent budget proposal would accelerate America’s descent into a debt crisis. It doubles debt held by the public by the end of his first term and triples it by 2021.” Quickly, here is the path to enlightenment/big bucks: Reduce spending to pre-2008 levels, freeze it; block-grant welfare programs; Medicare reform, but not the scary kind; a simplified tax code; and the creation of a budget police who will, um, police the budget.
3.) Lindsey Graham to America: STFU, please — Sen. Graham has asked that Americans not burn the Koran, the American flag, or anything else that could endanger U.S. troops and/or upset Lindsey Graham, who is incredibly sensitive. When he was asked in turn by NRO’s Robert Costa if he understood “the concerns about a U.S. senator determining the limits of free speech,” Graham replied, “Not really. Nobody said anything to me when I said that you can’t burn the flag. People say that is free speech, but I don’t agree. What I was saying is, if I could hold people accountable, I would. But I know that we can’t.” Graham went on to say that he was condemning Koran-burning on behalf of Gen. Petraeus. When asked if he should “first and foremost be an advocate for the First Amendment,” Graham replied, “Let me tell you, the First Amendment means nothing without people like General Petraeus. I don’t believe that the First Amendment allows you to burn the flag or picket the funeral of a slain service member. I am going to continue to speak out and say that’s wrong. The First Amendment does allow you to express yourself and burn a Koran. I’m sure that’s the law, but I don’t think it’s a responsible use of our First Amendment right.”
4.) Florida GOP continues to cause huge headache for RNC — “RNC Chief of Staff Jeff Larson will meet with staff of Florida legislators to try to find a solution to the stand-off over when the primary will be held, but there seems to be little common ground,” reports The Daily Caller’s Alexis Levinson. The RNC wants to preserve the primary primacy of New Hampshire, South Carolina, Nevada, and Iowa. This in turn got the aristohicks in Florida wondering, Why weren’t we invited to the hoe-down? So they decided to make their primary first, in clear violation of God’s law, er, the RNC rulebook. The thinking goes that no presidential candidate can win the White House without the help of Florida (ugh), because “Florida has 29 electoral votes” while “the first four primary states combined only have 25.” The RNC doesn’t really care and is threatening to halve Florida’s delegation to the Republican National Convention, which is being held in, uh, Florida. In the spirit of compromise, the Florida GOP has offered to push its primary back to February. Sadly, “even though late February would put the Florida Primary after the four early states, the Sunshine State will still be in violation of the RNC’s rules.”
5.) Jesse Ventura, presidential candidate? — Former professional wrestler and Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura would like to run for president with Ron Paul, reports ABC News. “I will tell you this. If Ron Paul runs as an Independent, I will give great consideration to being his running mate,” Ventura, sporting a leather jacket with lots of tassels, told George Stephanopoulos. Later in the interview, Ventura called for Democratic and Republican parties to be dissolved and reiterated his belief that George W. Bush not only knew about the attack on the World Trade Center before it happened, but organized the attack himself. With Ventura on board, Rep. Ron Paul’s campaign would have to change its name from “Revolution” to “Revulsion.”
6.) Despite White House ties, Google goes under FTC microscope — “Google Inc. (GOOG)’s dominance of the Internet-search industry is being considered for a broad antitrust investigation by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission,” reports Bloomberg News. “An FTC investigation of Google, the world’s most popular search engine, ‘could be on par’ with the scope of the Justice Department’s probe of Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) a decade ago, said Keith Hylton, an antitrust law professor at Boston University School of Law.” And to think, just a few months ago Google was practically begging the feds to regulate them with net neutrality rules.
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