Ezra Klein: “What’s the record of the 112th Congress? Well, it almost shut down the government and almost breached the debt ceiling. It almost went over the fiscal cliff (which it had designed in the first place). It cut a trillion dollars of discretionary spending in the Budget Control Act and scheduled another trillion in spending cuts through an automatic sequester, which everyone agrees is terrible policy. It achieved nothing of note on housing, energy, stimulus, immigration, guns, tax reform, infrastructure, climate change or, really, anything. It’s hard to identify a single significant problem that existed prior to the 112th Congress that was in any way improved by its two years of rule.”
This is a great photo (click through for larger versions):
The explanation from White House Photographer Pete Souza: “This is one of those rare instances where my presence indirectly became a part of this reaction from those pictured in the photograph. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had just accidentally dropped all of her briefing papers onto the Oval Office rug and she, the President and Vice President all reacted in a way that indicated that surely I wouldn’t get a photo of that to embarrass her.”
“Do keep in mind that Obama pretty much rolled the Republicans, and he has left them in disarray. Did that mean he was “desperate” to cut a deal? I don’t think so. It means he knew that getting credit for avoiding the cliff was better than letting the Republicans get blamed for going over it–especially if he could portray them as simultaneously craven and incompetent. He did both. Obama plays a long game, much longer than any of us realize. I suggest thinking about him with a little more nuance,” – David Gutting, a commenter responding to Paul Krugman’s latest column.