The end of the weekend Open Thread — I went to the Home Show yesterday and had the chance to meet the great Jim Westhoff, who we liked ALOT for the DE House a few years back. Just the kind of candidate we need more of IMO, and he is a great guy, to boot. Today I’m thinking about all of the cool stuff we saw at the Home Show yesterday, and wondering if I should go buy myself a house with a proper yard so I can put a hot tub out there.
A must read of the day — if anything because we have real commenters here who subscribe to this theory (for other issues than this so far, though) – The Green Lantern Theory of Sequestration:
While it’s true that the president does have some agenda-setting power, these commentators greatly overstate Obama’s ability to create political consensus through proposals and rhetoric (absent him simply yielding to GOP demands). As the political scientist John Sides pointed out on Twitter, “No theory of political or policy change should hinge on how presidents ‘talk.’” Green Lantern-ites have been seduced by the myth of the bully pulpit and do not seem to appreciate the relatively limited powers of the president on domestic policy issues.
The media should instead focus greater attention on Congress, which writes the tax and budget legislation that determines how the federal government spends its money. Obama has relatively little leverage over the Republicans who control the House of Representatives, almost all of whom represent districts he lost in 2012. And while the sequester was designed to be so onerous that it would force both parties to compromise, the sequester would still require substantial political pain, making it difficult for the administration to herd legislators toward a deal.
Quite right. What is head-scratching about The Green Lantern Theory (at least among the media) is that they abandon their favorite horserace narrative for this, when in this instance it really is the process that is a big part of the problem.
This is a great read from Ezra Klein — This is Why Obama Can’t Make a Deal with the Republicans. They are so wrapped up in their own narratives, that they can’t see the deal on the table:
The question my column left open was whether improving the lines of communication would actually change anything. Chait’s view is no, it wouldn’t. He begins by quoting Upton Sinclair’s famous line: “It is impossible to make a man understand something if his livelihood depends on not understanding it.” Chait continues:
If Obama could get hold of Klein’s mystery legislator and inform him of his budget offer, it almost certainly wouldn’t make a difference. He would come up with something – the cuts aren’t real, or the taxes are awful, or they can’t trust Obama to carry them out, or something.
What happened next on Twitter proved Chait’s point in every particular.
And he proceeds to break down that Twitter exchange. And it feels eerily familiar.
What a difference a few years makes — Californians Now Support Gay Marriage by 2:1 Margin
A record 61 percent of Californians now approve of allowing same-sex couples to marry, according to a poll released Thursday. 32 percent of Californians oppose.
This was done by the Field Poll group, which is probably the best CA-specific pollster out there.
Republicans consider Olive Garden to be a ‘quality source of authentic ethnic food,’ Democrats do not
— PublicPolicyPolling (@ppppolls) February 25, 2013
What interests you today?