Archive for November, 2012

Twinkies and abortion: Two from the ‘I hope you’re happy’ files

One from each side of the ideological spectrum. I’ll start with a smack upside the religious right’s collective head:

According to Rasmussen Reports, in a survey conducted after a presidential election in which abortion rights and the stupid statements of two GOP Senate candidates featured far too heavily, 54 percent of Americans describe themselves as “pro-choice” versus 38 percent who say they’re “pro-life.” This is in sharp contrast with Gallup’s finding back in May, in which half of respondents said they were “pro-life” versus 41 percent who were “pro-choice.” In fact, Gallup’s annual survey on the topic hasn’t found such a sharp pro-choice majority since 1995.

It will be interesting to see what Gallup finds on the question next May, after election-related passions have cooled. But to the degree the Rasmussen survey shows the consequences of changing what it means to be “pro-life,” I blame those right-to-life groups that have pushed politicians to oppose exceptions for …

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In an agitated region, Israel-Gaza conflict has dangerous potential; U.S. leadership needed

While we sort out who in our national security and defense hierarchy has been sleeping with whom, it appears Israel and terrorists in the Palestinian-controlled Gaza Strip are heading into a full-fledged war. As night falls in the region, Israeli officials have confirmed the first rocket attacks on Tel Aviv since the 1991 Gulf War. The Times of Israel has a running live blog of the action.

Those attacks followed yesterday’s Israeli strikes on terrorist targets in Gaza, including one that killed the leader of the military arm of Hamas. Both Hamas and another group called Islamic Jihad previously had ramped up their sporadic firing of rockets into southern Israel; as of mid-October, Israeli officials said there had been more than 800 rocket attacks on their country from Gaza this year.

Given the civil war in Syria, to Israel’s east; the new Egyptian government’s support of its fellow Muslim Brotherhood affiliate, Hamas; and Iran’s ties to both the Syrian government and the …

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How the GOP can turn Obama’s ‘I won’ attitude against him

So far, President Obama and Speaker John Boehner aren’t negotiating a way to rein in budget deficits in private this time. They’re negotiating in the press, and Obama is taking the hardest line.

While Boehner has signaled a willingness to increase tax revenue by limiting and eliminating deductions rather than by raising tax rates, Obama says his idea of compromise is to do both. He wants $1.6 trillion in new revenues over the next decade, which is double what he and Boehner nearly agreed to do during the 2011 debt-ceiling talks.

Virtually all of this new revenue would come from high earners: individuals making more than $200,000 or couples making more than $250,000. Raising their tax rates and capping their itemized deductions is estimated to bring in more than $1.43 trillion. The “Buffett Rule” would tack on another $47 billion, bringing the tab to $1.48 trillion for those at the top of what’s already the most progressive tax system in the industrialized world.

Obama is so …

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Dear people signing secessionist petitions . . .

Stop. Just stop.

If you haven’t heard, a number of pro-secession petitions have cropped up on the White House website’s page for public petitions. When I checked earlier today, there were petitions for “peaceful withdrawal” from the U.S. by 20 states. Not all of them went for Mitt Romney last week, or are in the South: There were also petitions for such states as Michigan, New Jersey, New York and Oregon.

It should go without saying that these petitions a) aren’t going to lead to any kind of action and b) aren’t supported by the vast majority of people who voted against President Obama. If you could cross-check the two groups, I suspect there would be a lot of overlap between the petition signers and birthers.

To those who are signing these petitions out of a sense of anger or exasperation or desperation, let me say this:

Maybe you believe all hope is lost now that we’re getting four more years of Obama. There are a lot of possibilities for his second term that I’m not happy …

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An important connection to make on Veterans Day

Today we salute all Americans who served our country in the armed forces. As overseas deployments (we hope) decrease in the coming years and more of today’s troops become veterans of the military, seeing that they have the attention, care and opportunities they have earned through their service will be one of the most important challenges America faces both morally and economically.

To that end, I’d like to remind everyone about the work of the Georgia Warrior Alliance. The alliance seeks to help both active-duty soldiers and veterans navigate the web of help available to them and to make sure they have the training they need to find a place in a tough job market. I’ve written before that this is both an obligation and an opportunity for Georgia, with our large active-duty and veteran populations, and our vast and diverse resources in the some of the very fields that would benefit them and could help our state develop in the future.

If you or someone you know is a veteran or …

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Charter schools amendment points the way for Georgia GOP

Republicans are doing some soul-searching after losing the presidential election and some winnable U.S. Senate contests. The Georgia GOP should be similarly self-reflective after delivering the second-smallest margin among states won by Mitt Romney.

The same demographic trends Romney failed to overcome are increasingly apparent in Georgia. Republicans here must learn to win over voters they typically haven’t attracted. Fortunately for them, Tuesday also offered a template for doing so: the successful charter schools amendment.

The referendum to affirm a state role in creating these public schools was passed in a Republican-dominated Legislature with crucial, but limited, Democratic support; was endorsed by our Republican governor; was opposed by the state Democratic Party; drew much-scrutinized financial support from wealthy Republicans outside Georgia; and was slammed in a radio ad by a civil-rights icon, the Rev. Joseph Lowery, as a precursor to resegregation.

Yet in …

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Poll Position: How to avoid the fiscal cliff?

The election is over, but there is real work to be done in Washington before President Obama even begins his second term. On Jan. 1, about seven and a half weeks from now, we take a flying leap over the fiscal cliff unless Obama and Congress can strike a deal to avoid it. Oh, and the debt ceiling will probably have to be raised again before the end of 2012, too.

How should Obama and Congress steer us away from the fiscal cliff? (Please vote for one tax option and one spending option)

  • Raise tax rates (53 Votes)
  • Cut spending across the board, cap future increases (48 Votes)
  • Reform entitlements to slow spending growth (46 Votes)
  • Close tax loopholes (45 Votes)
  • Focus on defense, other discretionary spending (39 Votes)
  • Do nothing; bring on the fiscal cliff! (19 Votes)
  • Be revenue-neutral, spark growth to raise revenue (18 Votes)
  • Create a VAT or other new tax (4 Votes)

Total Voters: 163

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This time, Obama is inheriting a mess from himself. The …

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How the GOP needs to change, and how it doesn’t

Tuesday was a brutal night for Republicans.

Incumbent presidents are tough to beat, but Barack Obama was about as vulnerable as they come. The economy is stagnant; his signature legislative achievement is unpopular; his party weathered sharp losses in the midterm elections by now, you know the litany by heart. Yet Mitt Romney appears to have flipped only two states Obama won in 2008 (pending the final result in Florida).

When political parties lose brutally, a lot of new conventional wisdom crops up. Some of it’s right, some of it’s wrong. Here’s an early take on which is which:

1. Republicans have to move toward the left.

Wrong, wrong, wrong. There are two major political parties in this country in large part because they represent two sets of durable, mainstream beliefs. Sometimes one or the other does a better job of representing its beliefs, but neither ideology will be permanently defeated. Which leads me to …

2. The GOP has to ditch the tea party.

Wrong. Just two …

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Post-election video chat: Where does GOP go from here, and does Obama have a mandate?

Here’s the third installment of the Google+ Hangouts that Jay Bookman, Aaron Gould Sheinin and I have been doing. Spoiler alert: You’ll see more disagreement between Jay and me than in the first two…

Please feel free to keep talking on the thread downstairs as well.

– By Kyle Wingfield

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Initial post-election thoughts

A few quick thoughts before I go record another Google+ Hangout with Aaron and Jay:

  • The Dow dropped about 200 points at today’s opening after a decent rally yesterday. Looks like I wasn’t the only one with a gut feeling about Mitt Romney winning the election.
  • Can we all just agree on no more nominees from Massachusetts? Romney, John Kerry, Michael Dukakis … the last person to reside in Massachusetts at the time he won the presidency was John F. Kennedy. (On second thought, maybe I should be encouraging the Democrats to nominate Elizabeth Warren in 2016 …)
  • With almost all the votes counted, Romney is a little less than 3 million votes off John McCain’s 2008 total — while President Obama is nearly 10 million votes off his own total from four years ago. Those numbers will shrink somewhat, but it’s safe to say that turnout was down and most of those who stayed home were previously Obama voters. These most likely were the folks who still told pollsters they were undecided right up …

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