Your Daily Jolt: Gloom descends on D.C.

A healthy dose of humbug has hit Washington as we go hurtling over the fiscal cliff. President Barack Obama and top Congressional leaders will meet at the White House this afternoon to discuss if there is a way out of the looming tax hikes and spending cuts due Jan. 1. The House returns Sunday night, with instructions to remain through the week into the new Congress — sworn in Jan. 3 — while a grouchy Senate came back Thursday evening. The New York Times’ Jennifer Steinhauer sets the mood in a piece worth reading from start to finish, but here’s one particularly good morsel:

Amid the absurdity of an urgent, nonurgent holiday session, there was the odd hum of normalcy. Senators fulminated about espionage for hours on the Senate floor as they debated the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Congressional aides wore their workday best as they sped through hallways, clutching their phones. Taco Thursday continued as it does each week in the small carryout restaurant where staff members collect lunches to be eaten at desks. [Rand] Paul, as per usual, tussled with the leadership over one of his amendments.

Mostly, people just looked mad. Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York, his tie slightly askew, looked as gloomy as the clouds hovering over the Capitol dome. “I didn’t realize how much I didn’t want to be here until I got here,” said Mr. Schumer, who had taken the red eye from San Francisco, where he had arrived only days earlier to visit his daughter.

The Washington Post has this one, for those optimistic that this afternoon’s cliff summit could resolve matters:

Despite the behind-the-scenes activity, some of [Senate Republican Leader Mitch] McConnell’s closest allies predicted that there was too little time to seal an interim deal and said each side was trying to pin the blame on the other.

“It’s all theatrics now,” Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.), McConnell’s incoming chief deputy, told reporters.

***

The Times’ Nate Silver — he of the controversial yet accurate presidential race predictions — has come up with a way to quantify why compromise is so difficult in the House. It has to do with the polarization of districts: “As these figures make clear, the number of swing districts has been on a steady decline since at least 1992, and the number of landslide districts on a steady rise.”

Based on the data Silver relies on, Georgia is a great case study for the polarization. Of the state’s 14 newly drawn Congressional districts, 11 are “landslide” Democratic or Republican lean, as they were more than 20 percentage points out of line with the national margin in the presidential race (Obama +4). The remaining three were “strong” Democratic or Republican, by being more than 10 percentage points away from the national margin. (Interestingly, one of the “strong Republican” districts was won by a Democrat, John Barrow of Augusta.)

So next time you curse the lack of compromise from Reps. Tom Graves of Ranger (a 73-25 Romney district) or John Lewis of Atlanta (83-16 Obama), remember where they come from.

***

Georgia’s elected representatives will be back Jan. 14 for the start of their legislative session. Among the initiatives on their plate will be an expansion — yes, that’s right — of pre-k education thanks to better-than-expected lottery revenues. Also on the docket: mandatory FBI fingerprint checks for daycare employees. The AJC’s Nancy Badertscher has more:

Bobby Cagle, who oversees pre-k as commissioner of Bright from the Start: the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning, said he’s “cautiously optimistic” the governor’s recommendation will be approved.

Cagle is expected to lobby to change state law to require all day-care employees to have background checks based on FBI fingerprint records.

Currently, only center directors are subject to the FBI checks, which can uncover records of crimes in any state, Cagle said. All other day-care employees need only in-state background checks that are based on information such as name and date of birth, he said.

***

Early voting has been slow for the Jan. 8 special elections that will fill a pair of state Senate seats and a state House seat, GPB reports: “Officials say they saw four to five times the number of voters cast a ballot during the same period in advance of the November election.”

***

The Post has a rundown of the Top 10 political quotes of 2012, and No. 10 holds a special resonance from my time as the AJC’s roving Newt correspondent: “By the end of my second term, we will have the first permanent base on the moon, and it will be American.” – Newt Gingrich

- By Daniel Malloy, Political Insider

For instant updates, follow me on Twitter, or connect with me on Facebook.

44 comments Add your comment

Aesop's Fables and other Lib Economic Theories

December 28th, 2012
11:02 am

“I didn’t realize how much I didn’t want to be here until I got here,” said Mr. Schumer

I guess it’s some consolation to We the People that schumer would rather be with his daughter than in Washington doing more harm to this once great nation.

For some reason I’m not very heartened though.

Aesop's Fables and other Lib Economic Theories

December 28th, 2012
11:15 am

The founding fathers didn’t consider “assault” weapons when they wrote the Constitution because there weren’t any. Citizens didn’t have them nor did the British Regulars. The Constitution was written with the single shot ball musket in mind because it could defend against the British and anyone else that attacked the citizens of this once great nation.

But now we have “assault” weapons. And, something much worse – liberalism. The British were fairly decent people who didn’t rape and pillage and were modest tax and spenders. liberals? Rapists, heathens, perverts and tax leviers that make the British look like rank amateurs. And guess what kind of weapons they are armed with, regardless of the laws that their naive leaders impose upon them? Dat’s right, “assault” weapons. Gosh, they have them even in the gun “free” zones.

And so, out the window goes the argument that your average law abiding and decent citizen doesn’t need a thirty round ammunition clip. Ever tried to count the number of libs in a flash mob? Think a pump shotgun will do much good against one?

liberalefty

December 28th, 2012
11:19 am

@aesops

tough talking from internet chickenhawk…lol

liberalefty

December 28th, 2012
11:22 am

the pee party would rather raise taxes on everybody instead of making the top 1% pay more. There hate for the black president has made them incapable of leading…lol

Lil' Barry Bailout --OBAMAPHONE!!!

December 28th, 2012
11:34 am

The fiscal cliff is the “balanced approach” Obozo claims to want.

Go over it and address tax cuts next year. Obozo’s parasite base will be screaming about having to pay Clinton-era tax rates. The House can pass a bill restoring all of Our President Bush’s tax cuts and let the Senate defeat it or Obozo veto it.

Voter

December 28th, 2012
11:36 am

@liberallefty – Raising taxes on the top 1% will do nothing. You could raise taxes on the top 5% or 25% and it will do nothing to the spending that the Government is doing! They have to cut spending.

Native Atlantan

December 28th, 2012
11:36 am

@aesops

Study history much? apparently not…..

Road Scholar

December 28th, 2012
11:36 am

Aesop: Take your meds! No, take a double dose!

Road Scholar

December 28th, 2012
11:38 am

Voter, you are correct. Double the cuts to the military!

liberalefty

December 28th, 2012
11:41 am

LILFAIRYFALLOUT

dont forget the republican hillbillie base from EASTERN KENTUCKY…eventhough theyre parasites and depend on welfare checks they voted for ROMNEY OVERWHELMINGLY…

Lil' Barry Bailout --OBAMAPHONE!!!

December 28th, 2012
11:44 am

One day, liberalefty will make a point.

Aesop's Fables and other Lib Economic Theories

December 28th, 2012
11:47 am

native/ road – You are welcome to dispute any facts that you have an issue with but I won’t be holding my breath waiting on it, believe me.

Voter

December 28th, 2012
11:50 am

@Road Scholar – No cuts to the military. Cut everything else across the board. The GSA is wasting money. Cut the trips to Hawaii that almost every department is making for their conventions. Cut welfare, cut food stamps, cut all entitlements. Cut salaries on every government employee by 5%. Cut down wasteful travel. Cut the support we are sending to other nations til we are healthy again.

liberalefty

December 28th, 2012
11:57 am

lilfairy

I VOTED FOR A WINNER…thats my point…lol

Lil' Barry Bailout --OBAMAPHONE!!!

December 28th, 2012
11:58 am

I voted for America.

Congrats on your “win”.

Voter

December 28th, 2012
12:00 pm

@liberallefty – You voted and the person you voted for won, but he’s is NOT a winner. He’s not even a leader.

liberalefty

December 28th, 2012
12:03 pm

voter

thats YOUR opinion but millions disagree. too bad your silverspoon boy got swamped…

liberalefty

December 28th, 2012
12:04 pm

i voted for AMERICA…

Voter

December 28th, 2012
12:08 pm

@liberallefty – and millions agree. Look at the mess we’re in. Where did the president go this week? Hawaii? I remember him saying during the debates how willing he was to work with both sides immediately after the election. Did he? No. I remember him saying how we would have answers to Benghazi where 4 American’s lost their lives due to incompetence, has he provided answers to the lack of leadership and responsibility? No.

Voter

December 28th, 2012
12:15 pm

And that’s my opinion and that is fact.

liberalefty

December 28th, 2012
12:15 pm

voter

THIS president like all the white presidents went on Christmas vacation. I doubt very much if u objected to the white ones going on vacation. And the congress is not willing to work with the president so thats a lie. aS FOR Benghazi if u think a embassy on foreign soil being attacked is due to incompetence u must think DUBYA IS THE worst president ever after 9/11…lol..

Voter

December 28th, 2012
12:21 pm

@liberallefty – If you bothered to read or listen to the Congressional Hearing – Ambassador Chris Stevens, diplomat Sean Smith and security men and former U.S. Navy SEALs Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods died there. There were repeated calls for help, months before it was known of a possible attack, extra security denied. During the attack, CIA help told to stand down. Get your liberal self informed before talk. You represent the most ignorant bunch I have ever heard of.

Voter

December 28th, 2012
12:22 pm

And that is FACT!

findog

December 28th, 2012
12:45 pm

Voter, soldiers are government workers. If you cut their pay 5% then the pentagon is pretty much where they need to be based on the current law they are attempting to get around. I am of the 13% – let all the tax cuts expire. Then also cut all the spending, we could get close to the Clinton era budgets and start paying for W.

Lil' Barry Bailout --OBAMAPHONE!!!

December 28th, 2012
12:59 pm

To get back to W, we’d have to reduce the deficit to $160 billion, his last before Democrats took over Congress in 2006.

Voter

December 28th, 2012
1:07 pm

@finddog – I understand that the military are government workers. That’s why I said no cuts to the military although they could withstand 5% cut also and survive. I don’t want anyone to lose a job but the waste has got to stop.

Truth

December 28th, 2012
1:39 pm

As a Soldier, I advocate a freeze of Service salaries at the FY2011 level, which would actually be a 6.5% cut from the FY2013 salary schedule. That said, you are a fool if you think that is where the money is at in the DoD budget. Civilian salaries, bloated civilian positions, contractors and their outrageous contract salaries…. that’s where the money is.

While leaving money for planned and current major programs and contingency operations, the DoD could stand:

10% cut of civilian staff
10% cut of remaining staff salaries
50% cut in contractors
Outside audit of contracts

All this would save billions in DoD budget funds and not affect national security in any way. That being said, we spend far more on other expenditures than defense. Namely, Social Security, Medicare, Dept. of Health and Human Services, and interest on the national debt are all larger budget line items than defense. Without real, strong reform and true cuts in all of these, we are doomed.

findog

December 28th, 2012
2:09 pm

The DoD budget will never be fixed as long as congress uses it as a jobs program. F22 only got started because on Nunn, only kept going because of Newt, only died when Georgia no longer headed up either house’s defense committee. Same with ships the navy never needed or wanted from Lott’s home town.
However I agree with accross the board reductions in civilains after we get rid of every contractor.

Voter

December 28th, 2012
2:42 pm

@truth – I agree. Unfortunately, our House/Senate can’t seem to get anything thru. Sad. If they would listen to some smart and good sense people, they could easily make the cuts.

Roadkill

December 28th, 2012
3:12 pm

Cut the bloated military budget by 15 percent now, then start pairing it down from there. We have way more war budget than we need and way more than we can afford. If we keep throwing money away on the needless military and cut everything else and never raise revenue, we’ll become a country with one single purpose – to wage manufactured wars (remember Bush-Cheney’s lies about WMDs) to justify our existence.

Aesop's Fables and other Lib Economic Theories

December 28th, 2012
3:25 pm

I doubt very much if u objected to the white ones going on vacation.

The white one didn’t demonize vacations in Los Vegas before he flew off on vacation to Hawaii.

Voter

December 28th, 2012
3:45 pm

@Roadkill -”If we keep throwing money away on the needless military”

Seriously? Our military men & women are not needless. They serve and protect our Country everyday so that YOU don’t have to. I agree there is government waste and I agree with the “Truth” above there is more waste in the bloated civilian and defense contractors. That is where some cuts can be made but our Government overall can take some cuts across the board ESPECIALLY in the welfare areas. We are paying people out there who keep producing children for the state to raise. It’s got to stop.

Retired Soldier

December 28th, 2012
4:06 pm

Roadkill-

You liberals forget one major point when talking about cutting the military. You are just as guilty as republicans. Obama took office and did he change policy in Iraq? No! He followed the Bush withdrawal plan. Obama could have sped things up, but he didn’t. BTW, almost every democrat in Congress also believed Iraq had WMD’s as did every intelligence service in the world.

How about Afghanistan, we are still there losing good soldiers proping up a government that is clueless at best. Why doesn’t he pull out now, last year, two years ago.

Finally…Bush fighting two wars on the credit card.. Did Bush ever have a 1.2 trillion deficit? I rest my case.

Get you head out of your fourth point of contact. If you where a paratrooper you would know what I mean.

Voter

December 28th, 2012
4:15 pm

@Retired Soldier – Well said!! and thank you for your service.

Retired Soldier

December 28th, 2012
4:22 pm

Voter-

My service was a pleasure, wish I was still doing it.

Until we drasticly reduce spending, including defense, we are doomed to go bankrupt. We need to eliminate entire departments, i.e. Homeland Security, Energy, Education, to name a few. Read the constitution, if it isn’t listed as a “power” of the federal government, then the feds should be out of that business.

Retired Soldier

December 28th, 2012
4:30 pm

Roadkill-

Where are you? Isn’t it a pain when the facts don’t support your narrative.

We are waiting for your response.

Voter

December 28th, 2012
5:06 pm

@Retired Soldier – I agree, some entire Government Departments could go.

I take it your parachute training was at Ft. Benning?, you sound possibly too young for Toccoa.

Aesop's Fables and other Lib Economic Theories

December 28th, 2012
6:06 pm

test

Does anyone else feel empathy for peeping tom?

Aesop's Fables and other Lib Economic Theories

December 28th, 2012
6:07 pm

test

Does anyone else feel empathy for peeping tom?

You should. Just imagine being in it’s shoes, not enough intelligence to debate the issues, all it can do is stalk, harass and spy on those it disagrees with. Feels like it’s surrounded and every name belongs to one person that’s out to get it. Always on the watch for those black corporate helicopters. Hears voices. Writes it all down, just in case.

Aesop's Fables and other Lib Economic Theories

December 28th, 2012
6:08 pm

test

Hey, Lil Barry, Reporter and F Sinkwich, this clown thinks I’m you. All of you.

liberalefty

December 29th, 2012
7:16 am

@esop

like i said u didnt object to the white presidents taking vacations…just this one because hes black…

Retired Soldier

December 29th, 2012
9:20 am

Voter-

Yes, Ft. Benning, way to young for WWII.

Truth

December 29th, 2012
10:52 am

@Ret. Soldier — Been to Benning lately? The multi-million dollar entrance from 185 is a prime example of DoD waste. The sad thing is, when they decide to make cuts, stuff like that will stay in the budget and training and equipment will suffer. It’s all about being a civilian jobs program now….

Retired Soldier

December 29th, 2012
12:01 pm

Truth-

I have and yes you are correct, I love the way it looks, but it is/was an expense that should have been avoided. DOD has tons of fat/waste/fruad. It can be cut and not impact on national security. I would take that job for 50k a year and I bet I could find billions.