Tim Dickinson: “After watching voters punish the GOP in the 2012 elections, Republican elites have been talking a brave game about reforms that would make the party less repulsive to Latinos, women and gay-friendly millennials…”
“Don’t be fooled. On the ground, a very different reality is unfolding: In the Republican-led Congress, GOP-dominated statehouses and even before the nation’s highest court, the reactionary impulses of the Republican Party appear unbowed. Across the nation, the GOP’s severely conservative agenda – which seeks to impose job-killing austerity, to roll back voting and reproductive rights, to deprive the working poor of health care, and to destroy agencies that protect the environment from industry and consumers from predatory banks – is moving forward under full steam.”
Politico: “Minnesota topped the turnout list for the eighth time in the last nine presidential and midterm elections, with 76.1 percent turnout. Hawaii came in last, with turnout at a mere 44.1 percent. Overall turnout was down from 62 percent in 2008, when the possibility of the nation’s first black president caused a surge at the polls, to 59 percent in 2012. Low turnout in the nation’s three most populous states — Texas, New York and California — contributed to the drop. All saw declines of nine percent or higher.”
“The two budget proposals now in Congress present Americans with a choice even starker than the one between the presidential candidates last year,” the Los Angeles Times reports.
“Under the 10-year budget plan released by House Republicans this week, tax rates would fall for high-income Americans and corporations, defense spending would be bolstered, and more than 30 million uninsured people would lose access to government-backed healthcare. Food stamps, student loans and free school lunches for children would be cut.”
“The Senate Democrats’ plan, released Wednesday, would increase taxes on the wealthy and some corporations, cut the Pentagon budget and add $100 billion in highway and school construction spending. Their plan would make modest reductions in healthcare and other domestic programs.”
John Dickerson‘s Slate post, “Is Obama Setting a Trap for Republicans?” probes white house strategy in the budget negotiations. Sure, the president would like a grand bargain on the budget, and he has to try for one, knowing full-well that the Republicans could string him along for a while, then sink the negotiations at any time. In that event, Obama has the cover he needs to hang tough and reveal, once again, that the Republicans can’t govern because they won’t compromise — not a bad meme for 2014.