1.) In current budget battle, “No” means “Yes” — Four days remain before the federal government goes on unpaid vacation, and here is what is happening: A borderline daffy and possibly punch-drunk Sen. Harry Reid continues to offer $73 billion in cuts, even though analysts have revealed this number to be cobbled together from various and sundry mistruths. Meanwhile, Speaker John Boehner likely showered fully dressed last night, while weeping and thinking about what went wrong (the Tea Party). Publicly, Democrats say they are shooting for $33 billion in cuts from the 2011 budget. We can arrive at that number by adding the $10 billion cut from previous CR extensions to the additional $23 billion that Democrats initially said was really important but are now totally ready to part with. “While Boehner has publicly denied agreeing to that number and has said he is pushing for deeper spending cuts,” reports the Washington Post, “senior aides and lawmakers acknowledge that $33 billion is the goal.” Per the last three months, “the wild card remains the 87 House Republican freshmen who won in the fall largely on tea party pledges to slash government spending and who are pushing for much deeper cuts.”
2.) 2012 budget plan reveals Paul Ryan has a thing for linear routes — “Rep. Paul Ryan said on Fox News Sunday that his budget will cut federal government spending by more than $4 trillion over the next 10 years – cutting the deficit even more than the plan put forward by the debt commission appointed by President Obama,” reports ABC News. In the spirt of “The Roadmap for America’s Future,” Ryan has named his new budget plan “The Path to Prosperity.” While the plan doesn’t bring spending in line with revenues, it does make a serious dent in entitlements. For this reason, House leadership asked Ryan to keep his plan in the closet for a little while longer, to which Ryan said, “We can’t keep kicking this can down the road. The President has punted; we’re not going to follow suit.”
3.) Will slow, steady, and slightly mouth-breathy win the race for the GOP? — The NYT’s John Harwood thinks 2012 looks a lot like 1996. Republicans were riding a midterm wave then, too, but ended up eating sand when they attempted to oust Pres. Bill Clinton. This time around, big-name Republicans are playing the game a little differently. “By this point in 1995, several major candidates had entered the Republican race. The front-runner, Senator Bob Dole, the majority leader, announced his candidacy April 10,” writes Harwood. “With one nomination rival, Phil Gramm of Texas, pressing from the right within the Senate, Mr. Dole joined Speaker Newt Gingrich in a budget fight with Mr. Clinton that ended disastrously in a government shutdown. Mr. Clinton’s attacks on ‘Dole-Gingrich’ cutbacks hobbled the Republican ticket.” This time around, “no major Republican contender is running from Washington,” allowing Speaker John Boehner to shoulder the consequences of a government shutdown fully on his own. Harwood adds that GOP candidates have “other reasons to wait besides dodging Washington land mines.” Such as “intra-party scrutiny” of the health-care/marriage/civil rights/governing records.
4.) A Hillary run in 2012 is the new right-wing fever dream — Probably not, but Republicans would love it if she did! The reasons for doing so, claim conservative day-dreamers, are infinite: “Hillary voters never fell in love with Obama, they just fell in line,” writes John Phillips at the L.A. Times. Not to mention that Obama’s approval rating seems to be on the other end of the seesaw from Clinton’s. “A new Quinnipiac University poll shows President Obama’s approval rating at a pathetic 42% –- down four points from early March.” Meanwhile, “the approval numbers for Hillary are nearing an all-time high –- with Gallup showing 66% of Americans giving ‘Hill the Thrill’ a big thumbs up –- up from 61% in July.” Not to mention that Clinton basically (for better or worse) made Libya happen, inspiring an aide to say, “She’s not happy with dealing with a president who can’t decide if today is Tuesday or Wednesday.”
5.) MoJo’s Kevin Drum will love Obama, no matter what — “Obama has been a disappointment on civil liberties and national security issues, but since I frankly don’t think any modern president can buck the national security establishment in any significant way, I haven’t held that too deeply against him,” writes Kevin Drum of Mother Jones. “The escalation in Afghanistan has been unfortunate too, but he did warn us about that.” He’s even fine with an increase in drone strikes! But Libya is where Drum wants to draw the line. Except he can’t, because the biggest reason he voted for Obama in 2008 is that he trusts the president’s judgment. Drum writes, “I mean that if [Obama] and I were in a room and disagreed about some issue on which I had any doubt at all, I’d literally trust his judgment over my own. I think he’s smarter than me, better informed, better able to understand the consequences of his actions, and more farsighted. I voted for him because I trust his judgment, and I still do.” If enough lefty journalists follow Drum’s lead, Obama won’t need to campaign for reelection.
6.) Florida judges just giving houses away, basically — “A review of cases in state and appellate courts found judges are routinely dismissing cases for questionable paperwork. Although in most cases the bank is allowed to refile the case with the appropriate documents, in a growing number of cases judges are awarding homeowners their homes free and clear after finding fraud upon the court,” reports the Palm Beach Post. Here’s just one example: “In February, Miami-Dade County Circuit Judge Maxine Cohen Lando…called Marc A. Ben-Ezra, founding partner of Ben-Ezra & Katz P.A., before her to explain discrepancies in a case handled by an attorney in his Fort Lauderdale-based firm. She called Ben-Ezra a ‘robot’ who filed whatever the banks sent him, and held him in contempt of court. She then gave the homeowner the home–free and clear–and barred the lender from refiling the foreclosure.” Florida is now run entirely by crooks and spoiled children.
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