1.) ‘Catfood’ commission releases findings, lefties kick litter all over the place — The deficit commission headed up by former Clintonite Erskine Bowles and retired Wyoming Senator Alan “Milk ’em if you got ’em” Simpson released a preliminary report yesterday on how to reduce our national IOU. The plan was “blasted by the left,” writes The Daily Caller’s Jon Ward, “with labor unions leading the way in decrying its cuts, and received only a noncommittal response from the White House.” Among the suggestions: Raise the retirement age to 68 by 2050, stingier COLAs for Social Security, cuts to the White House and Congressional budgets, a much-needed simplification of the tax code, a freeze on federal pay raises, the elimination of more than a few tax credits, and a 15% increase in the gas tax. After having one of his aides read the proposal out loud to him, the AFL-CIO’s Richard Trumka complained that “the chairmen of the Deficit Commission just told working Americans to ‘Drop Dead,’” proving once again that no one in his organization can actually read. Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called the plan “simply unacceptable,” which is fine, because it’s not like she’s in charge of anything anymore. Also noteworthy: Everyone involved with this report will be dead by 2050.
2.) FDA will require ugly pictures on cigarette packages; should it also require them in abortion clinics? — “The Food and Drug Administration announced Wednesday that it will require graphic images to be placed on the front and back of cigarette packages as part of a radical new campaign to keep teens from lighting up and to push longtime smokers to quit,” reports the New York Daily News. These images will include old people with holes in their throats, mouths of all ages with no teeth, and emaciated-looking junkie monsters for whom smoking is less of a problem than meth addiction. There will also be lots of pictures of babies, because smoking while pregnant is never a good idea. The FDA has zero plans, however, to require similarly disturbing images on the walls of abortion clinics, where women go to have their babies killed. As one wise critic pointed out, this is probably because “smoking makes poor people more expensive, while abortion lowers their social carrying cost.”
3.) Did the Pelosi bus save Steele’s bacon? — “Despite criticism from the media and fellow Republicans, Republican National Committee head Michael Steele is becoming more likely to win a second term as the chairman of the 168-member body,” writes FrumForum’s Tim Mak. “His recent ‘Fire Pelosi’ bus tour included stops in 48 states, and even his closest supporters won’t deny that it has allowed him the benefit of reaching out to many of the committee’s members.” Mak also points to Steele’s patronage powers and the fact that RNC insurrectionists have failed to choose a paladin. Time is running out, says Mak: “Only about 60 days remain between now and the vote. Campaigning for the chairmanship means more than just calling members – it means flying out to RNC members’ states and assuring them that their interests will be well represented. Factor in the Christmas holidays, and any potential challenger has only about 50 days to reach out to 168 members.” For the D.C. insiders who want to poke themselves in the eye every time Steele pops up on the telly and says something dumb, these 50 days will feel like the fastest of their lives.
4.) Rand Paul gets down to business by talking about possibly forming caucus, or something — “Kentucky Republican Senator-elect Rand Paul is already making waves in Washington, D.C. with plans to organize either a Senate or bicameral Tea Party Caucus,” reports TheDC’s Matthew Boyle. “My idea is that we would do a bicameral caucus,” Paul told TheDC. “I don’t think there’s been a caucus that has had both Senate and House jointly meeting and I’d also like it to involve the grassroots, in some way, the Tea Party groups so we get some kind of input from folks all around the country, some kind of electronic town hall or something like that.” For Paul’s sake, we hope that his camel caucus is more successful at uniting Tea Partiers than Patrick Kennedy’s Alcoholics Anonymous caucus was at keeping him out of bars.
5.) Bachmann bows out — “Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann dropped out of the race for House Republican Conference chair on Wednesday night, ending a quixotic bid for leadership that many saw as the first real test of the tea party against the GOP establishment,” reports Washington-area trade publication Politico. “Even though Bachmann’s bid only lasted about a week, it serves to illustrate the headwinds a tea party candidate could face in official Washington.” And to think Bachmann weathered those winds for a whole week!
6.) ‘Democratic strategists’ vigorously pat their own butts for a job done well enough — “As bad as election night was for House Democrats, top party strategists say it could have been far worse,” reports the New York Times. Because if not for a group of overpaid, overfed, and poorly groomed dweebs, things would have been so. Much. Worse. “Officials at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee said the difficult decision to cut off campaign spending on Democrats whose races had slipped out of reach and then spend the money elsewhere ultimately saved 15 to 20 seats.” Said officials also congratulated themselves for “[keeping] the number of seats they will need to pick up in 2012 to regain the House to a more manageable 25 or so rather than the nearly 40 they might have had to win under a worst-case scenario.” One question remains: Does not losing by as much as you could’ve lost feel as good as winning? Pick up tomorrow’s Times to find out!