Douthat imagines how the left and right will respond to the president:
[Obama’s] influence over Clinton’s campaign will depend on economic trends and foreign policy developments as well as her own choices: If he’s climbed to a 47-48 percent approval rating by early 2016, I wouldn’t expect there to be any daylight between his agenda and her platform; if he falls back toward 40 percent (or drops below) amid some unlooked-for crisis, then no presidential speech is likely to constrain Hillary from trying to charting a more post-Obama course.
Meanwhile, the future relevance of his stab at a middle class agenda will be determined in part by whatever the G.O.P. comes up with for its post-Obama blueprint. If you contrast what was on offer last night with some of the ideas that, say, Utah Senator Mike Lee has proposed, there’s a very interesting right-left debate to be had around higher education reform, tax reform (family-friendly and otherwise), and other issues as well. But maybe the eventual Republican nominee will have a very different game plan, and the big clashes will end up happening elsewhere. Or maybe the mere fact that Obama has touched these issues will prompt the right to retreat to “safer” (that is, staler) ground.
In conservative-land, you see, Obama’s first election was a fluke and his second a calamitous accident, both canceled by the ensuring midterms and both destined to be remembered as incidental interruptions of the Long March of Movement Conservatism towards total power. The idea that 2008 and 2012 are just as significant as 2010 and 2014 (maybe a bit more significant insofar as far more Americans participated) is outrageous to the Right, and so Obama mentioning them was the defiant act of a political nonentity.
Beyond that, the basic framing of Obama’s remarks on the economy left Republicans even deeper in the trap they’ve been in ever since conditions began improving. The main criticism available to them for the performance of the economy is the one Democrats (and Obama himself) have been articulated: sluggish wage growth and growing inequality. But Republicans have little or no agenda to deal with that beyond the usual engorge-the-job-creators stuff dressed up with attacks on the few corporate welfare accounts they’ve agreed to oppose, and then the Keystone XL Pipeline. On this last point, Obama was very clever in dismissing Keystone as one controversial infrastructure project we’re spending too much time fighting over as hundreds of others languish. It made Joni Ernst’s plodding Official Response sound all the more foolish for spending so much time on that one project.
Ezra Klein says that if Mitt Romney was President right now, and we had all of this good economic news, the applause would never have ended on Tuesday night, and Brian Beutler says Republicans would have “draped him in Reagan’s cloak, and the public would have warmed once again to the kinds of policies that George W. Bush’s presidency briefly discredited.”
The evidence points to – yes. The Cape Gazette Reports that at his latest January constituent coffee meeting,Rep. Smyk expressed concerns that the State Police and Delaware National Guard are not up to the task of ensuring order in the event of some “major occurrence.” And that these agencies are in need of reinforcement from a whackjob militia composed of local whackjobs.
The National Journal quotes a Republican Congressman, Rep. Charlie Dent, on how horribly the first weeks of the new Congressional session are going for the GOP:
“I prefer that we avoid these very contentious social issues,” said moderate Rep. Charlie Dent, reprising comments he gave in the closed-door conference meeting. “Week one, we had a speaker election that did not go as well as a lot of us would have liked. Week two, we got into a big fight over deporting children, something that a lot of us didn’t want to have a discussion about. Week three, we are now talking about rape and incest and reportable rapes and incest for minors. … I just can’t wait for week four.”
In week 4, you got owned by the President on national television.
Governor Markell previewed his State of the State speech that he will deliver this afternoon to WDEL’s Amy Cherry. Governor Markell said his top priorities will remain centered around economic development, education and effective governance.
“Certainly, the job growth over the last year has been really good, fourth fastest in the country, 24 straight months, where it’s been strong relative to the rest of the country,” he said.
Markell said he’ll continue to build on that progress along with progress made on education and environmental issues. Without getting specific, the governor said he’ll revisit themes you heard in last year’s State of the State.
I’d like to know what progress he thinks was made on education. More inside…
After six years, the science of “which mascot would win in a fight” continues to confound the experts with a 100% success rate. That’s right, 6 for 6 Bitches! Suck it Terry Bradshaw!
Anyhoo…let’s take a look at Super Bowl XLIX (official pronunciation – “Super Bowl Ex-licks”).
This could be a tough one. A minute man style colonial militia “Patriot” vs. Bird. Frankly I was rooting for Packers vs Colts because that would have been dead easy. But as Dick Cheney once said, “You may pray for defenseless victims and the easy snuff out of a bewildered child or an enfeebled old lady, but in the end you get what you get.”
Here is what I said about the Seahawks last year….
I remember back with Governor Markell nominated Chief Justice Leo Strine, some wrote that Strine may be too brash to fill the normally stoic and silent role of a Delaware Chief Justice. I thought of that when I heard that a war of words has erupted today between Senate Minority Leader Greg Lavelle (R) and Chief Justice Strine.
[Lavelle] called out [Strine] on the floor of the Delaware Senate[!!!], saying Strine owes law enforcement an explanation, “if not an apology,” for comments on Monday that Lavelle said inappropriately compared Delaware’s rate of incarceration to North Korea.
Strine delivered the remarks to a Chase Center crowd on Monday at a Delaware State Bar Association breakfast honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The chief justice said Delaware can’t “incarcerate our way to public safety” and noted “shocking disparities” for blacks in Delaware.
Strine added, “You don’t want to be in a state where incarceration rates are associated with North Korea.”
Lavelle wants Strine to apologize for that? Pardon my french, Mr. Lavelle, but go fuck yourself. The Chief Justice owes no apology to anyone. You, however, owe an apology to all Delaware citizens for trying to create a false controversy. Strine’s office bitchslapped Lavelle as well with the following statement inside….
Andrew Sullivan, in remarks prior to the Speech, congratulated President Obama for showing the Democratic party where their cajones actually were located.
I have to say that, as rumors and reports came in last week that Obama was going to propose a straightforward redistribution from the mega-mega-rich to the struggling middle classes, I could scarcely believe it. I mean: how often does the Democratic party actually exercise solid pro-active political judgment? How often do they seize the policy initiative from Republicans? How often do they propose things thay passionately believe in and unabashedly direct the message to the vast majority of Americans treading water in rougher and rougher seas? How often does a winning Congressional party get effectively marginalized in the public debate just after a stunning mid-term win?
We have the Drop Mic Moment and more of my favorite moments from last night’s State of the Union speech inside. We also have some reactions from the punditry… like this:
Andrew Sullivan: “This is a speech that revealed to us the president we might have had without the extraordinary crises – foreign and domestic – he inherited. I’ve always believed in his long game and in his bent toward pragmatism over ideology. Events can still upend things, but this is a president very much shaping the agenda past his own legacy. He’s showing Hillary Clinton the way, and has the midterms to point to as the result of the defensive crouch. If his standing improves still further, he will box her in, and she’ll have to decide if she’s going to be a Wall Street tool and proto-neocon or a more populist and confident middle class agenda-setter. One of his best. And for the first time in his six years, he has the economic winds behind him.”
Vice President Joe Biden was in Delaware yesterday to give a speech at a Martin Luther King, Jr. breakfast in Wilmington on repairing the breach between police and the African American community. And the News Journal, in their story on the Vice President’s speech today, showed the following pictures of the former Attorney General and future alleged gubernatorial candidate Beau Biden, who was present for his father’s speech but did not speak himself.
Photos are courtesy of Jennifer Corbett of the News Journal. The side profiles of Mr. Biden are concerning. I hate that I have to study every picture of Beau Biden after his rare public appearances to judge how his health is. I hate that I have to wonder about his health at all. As someone who had to endure a health scare last year, I understand how important privacy is. But then again, I am not a supposed candidate for Governor. Nor was I in public office when I got sick. Just tell us. We are adults. We can handle it.
The President’s State of the Union speech is tonight and we will not only be hosting our live chat, but also the speech itself, both here in the Open Thread (in the video box below) and in the chat thread. The White House has already let it be known that the President is going to call for a tax on the wealthy to fund middle class tax breaks. John Nichols at the Nation lays out the plan, which I think the GOP is going to have a hard time fighting. They will of course, but I don’t envy them.
This is not a radical plan. It redistributes a very small amount of wealth, and most of that wealth will be steered right back into the economy by working families, who truly drive the economy. Indeed, to get a sense of how far we have fallen in the previous three decades in the desire to fellate our billionaire masters, this Obama proposal will only return the capital gains tax rate to the level it was when Ronald Reagan was President. And, according to Booman , it proves how President Obama is different from the last two term Democratic President saddled with a hostile and Republican Congress in the last years of his Presidency.
Today’s theme is Mittens Willard Dillard Romney the III. Before that though, let’s enjoy some polling goodness, some of which does touch on the once and future frontrunner to the GOP nomination.
IOWA–PRESIDENT–REPUBLICAN PRIMARY–Gravis Marketing: Romney 21, Bush 14, Walker 10, Huckabee 9, Paul 8, Cruz 7
NATIONAL–PRESIDENT–REPUBLICAN PRIMARY–Economist/YouGov: Romney 28, Bush 12, Carson 10, Cruz 9, Huckabee 8, Paul 8, Walker 6
NATIONAL–PRESIDENTIAL APPROVAL–Washington Post-ABC News: President Obama’s overall approval rating now stands at 50%, the highest since the spring of 2013.
We have come a long way. And there is a long way to go. Because Martin’s dream is not only equality before the law, but also equality in opportunity, and equality in mind. We are still working on equality before the law, as we see with Ferguson. We are still working on equality in opportunity, but we have made great strides there, as an African American is President of the United States. Equality in mind is going to be the last greatest and most difficult hurdle. Equality in mind deals with the thoughts, bias, and bigotry in each of our own minds. And it will only be achieved when every single person, Jew, Gentile, White, Black, Man, Woman, Gay, Straight, is judged on their merits, their actions, their words rather than on what God they pray to, what color their skin is, or who they love.
Many saw the election of Barack Obama as the destination. It was only a mile marker.
Some idiot potential assassin tried to kill Vice President Biden and his family last night by firing bullets towards the Vice President’s home on Barley Mill Road in Greenville. The Vice President and Dr. Jill Biden were in Washington, D.C. at the time.
The cases are consolidated and the petitions for writs of certiorari are granted limited to the following questions:
1.) Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex?
2.) Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-state?
A total of ninety minutes is allotted for oral argument on Question 1. A total of one hour is allotted for oral argument on Question 2. The parties are limited to filing briefs on the merits and presenting oral arguments on the questions presented in their respective petitions.
My opinion is that the answers to both questions will be yes, by a vote of 6-3. Yes, the four liberals plus Kennedy and Roberts.
Now that the General Assembly is back in session, we have our first legislative weekly “address.” We also have President Obama’s weekly address that previews his State of the Union Address on Tuesday night, Governor Markell’s weekly address, the West Wing Week, and a special video about Big Block of Cheese Day, which features some characters from the old “West Wing” show.
Sorry for my absence this week with the open threads. I was sent deep down south on business (and then my superiors complained about me not being in the office). But this time I didn’t see any horrible evil signs or cross burnings, so maybe the region is improving, or maybe there is not a black President during an election anymore. I can’t wait to see the white conservative reaction to Hillary Clinton, specifically whether it will be sexist on the part of self hating white conservative women.
Here are some fun maps. Is Irish food really the preferred cuisine of Delaware? What is Irish cuisine? Steak and potatoes? Corned beef and cabbage?
I hope she runs again. I chalk the loss up to Tom Carper and John Carney undermining the Democratic brand and thereby giving no support to down-ticket Dem challengers with less name recognition.
I found this early draft of Carney’s HR 37 statement on line.
“Many of you have asked me why I voted for H.R. 37, featured in the News Journal this morning. Dodd-Frank was passed before I came to Congress, but I support its goal of reining in Wall Street and protecting taxpayers.[Please note that "support" should be enclosed in quotation marks]
John Kowalko isn’t shutting up, and for good reason. It isn’t Pete Schwartzkopf’s business to decide if someone can be an activist and a legislator. That’s Kowalko’s constituent’s job, and Kowalko’s constituents expressly hired him to be an activist and a legislator.
Schwartzkopf may not remember, but John Kowalko sat in an Leg Hall energy committee meeting with a gag in his mouth in protest, and that was prior to being hired by his constituents. They knew what they were getting into.
Which raises the question – does Schwartzkopf know what he is getting into by elevating Kowlako’s status to that of a martyr for a transparent democracy? I sort of doubt it.
There is no mystery anymore. We all know how this is going to play out. Republican austerity zealots are going to get 99% of what they want, and be able to pillory Democrats for gutting social security because “Democrats” like John Carney and Tom Carper suck outright and make the whole party look like a bunch of sniveling idiots and/or craven douche-bags.
The new House Budget Committee chairman hinted Monday that he had big plans for Social Security reform in the next two years, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.