Well, I am finally getting back into the swing of things here. I was wiped out yesterday, recovering from Christmas, and cleaning up from hosting Christmas dinner for my large and loud Irish Catholic family. I am still kinda zoned out, and I am not sure what day it is. I am told it is Thursday. It does not feel like a Thursday. It feels like a Tuesday, and you just awoke from a 20 year coma. Yeah, that’s how it feels like today.
So, reconnecting to the political world….
We are going over the cliff. Whoops, I am sorry Nemski. I mean the street curb, or gentle ski slope.
Nearly all the major players in the fiscal cliff negotiations are starting to agree on one thing: A deal is virtually impossible before the New Year. Unlike the bank bailout in 2008, the tax deal in 2010 and the debt ceiling in 2011, the Senate almost certainly won’t swoop in and help sidestep a potential economic calamity, senior officials in both parties predicted on Wednesday.
Why are we going over the cliff? Chait:
“Everybody knows what happens in January. Both sides ought to be able to anticipate it and make the deal they could make then now. Business types have therefore assumed a December deal would happen. If this was a business deal between two rational people, that’s what would happen.”
“But we are not dealing with rational people here. We are dealing with House Republicans. As Republican Tom Cole gently put it, by way of describing his colleagues’ implacable hatred of taxes, ‘It’s who they are. It’s the air they breathe. It’s what the Republican electorate produces.'”
“If Boehner strikes a deal before January, Republicans will suspect he gave away revenue he could have fought for. But if he refuses, the House Republicans will see for themselves what happens. The revenue will go away on its own, over Boehner’s objections. All Obama has to do is continue to make clear he will not under any circumstances extend any tax cuts on income over $250,000 a year. Then he has nearly all the revenue he needs, and he can offer Republicans a deal they would never walk away from. They might try to get that deal in December, but January remains the best bet.”
Hawaii has a new Senator: the current Lt. Governor Brian Schatz. Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie appointed Schatz to fill the Senate seat left vacant following the unexpected death of the late Sen. Daniel Inouye (D). This choice is not without controversy, as it would seem that Abercrombie disregarded the apparent wishes of the dying Senator, as Inouye specifically asked Abercrombie to appoint Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D) to fill his seat in the event of his death. Given Inouye’s popularity in Hawaii, this will likely cause him and his Lt. Governor problems within the party come the 2014 party primaries.
Booman likes Schatz’s resume though.
I don’t know much about Lt. Gov. Schatz, but I quickly learned a few things. He’s Jewish and was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He went to the same high school as Barack Obama. He studied philosophy at Pomona College and spent a semester studying in Kenya. He has an interracial family with two kids. He got his start as a community organizer.
Schatz first became active in the community when he became involved in the Save Sandy Beach movement in the 1980s. He served as CEO of Helping Hands Hawaii as well as Director of both the Makiki Community Library and the Center for a Sustainable Future. In March 2010, Schatz stepped down from Helping Hands to focus on his campaign for the office of Lieutenant Governor
And, of course, he was appointed by Gov. Neil Abercrombie who was good friends with Barack Obama Sr. when they were both students at the University of Hawaiʻi in the early 1960’s. As a fellow philosophy major and former community organizer, I kind of feel like I am getting personal representation. He’s also three years younger than me, so he may be in the Senate for the rest of my life.
Schatz also appears to be progressive on the policy side. He has described the climate crisis as “the most urgent challenge of our generation,” which is an encouraging sentiment. Schatz is hitching a ride on Air Force One as we speak, and will be sworn into office later today.
Meanwhile, and I am starting to get a bad feeling about this… but former President George H.W. Bush has been moved into intensive care and is in a “guarded condition.” He was hospitalized right around Thanksgiving for a persistent cough and difficulty breathing, went home briefly, and then returned to the hospital with a fever and other ailments. The 41st president has been in the hospital for more than a month now. The former President is 88. Sometimes people reach a point in old age when their bodies just begin to shut down. I hope we are not witnessing this with President Bush.