Yes the headline is harsh, but so are the actions of the GOP. Tonight President Obama is to ask for an extension of the payroll tax cuts and even increase them. Hasn’t the right been telling us that tax cuts are what keeps the economy rolling? Well apparently not now:
Congressional Republicans over the past year have threatened to both shut down the government and default on U.S. debt in order to prevent tax hikes. But in January, without congressional action, payroll taxes are set to increase by 50 percent on millions of American workers. The GOP response? A resounding meh.
When President Obama travels to Congress on Thursday to deliver a major jobs speech, he'll be encountering a species previously considered mythical on Capitol Hill: Republicans who don't support tax cuts.
The one-year payroll tax cut was passed as part of the deal that extended Bush-era tax rates through 2012, and Republicans routinely described the potential expiration of that cut as a "tax hike." While the payroll tax cut applies to no more than the first $106,000 in income, the Bush tax cuts disproportionately benefit the wealthy. But the key difference between the two is the author: The payroll tax is Obama's and his alone.
And if you continue reading the article you’ll find quotes from tons of Republicans in Congress, like this one:
"My personal view is that the debt is already impacting the economy," said Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) "If your debt is this large, I think you've gotta be very careful about adding debt." HuffPost asked whether that view put the GOP in the unusual position of advocating that taxes go up on millions of people in January, when the one-year cut expires.
But the politics of division have reared up, fueled by efforts to incite class warfare. For example, though he often talks about millionaires, billionaires and corporate jet owners paying their “fair share,” behind closed doors the president admits to wanting to raise taxes on individuals making $200,000 per year and families and small businesses earning $250,000 per year.
Again we have a Republican leader worrying about only 2% of this country. What about the other 98% who don’t earn that much? How about the fact Eric Cantor voted for the Paul Ryan budget that essentially raises taxes on the middle and lower class, while cutting them on this 2%? I’m sorry, but if there’s a class warfare going on, it is being caused by Eric Cantor and his party.
As President Bush sent his budget to Capitol Hill Monday, a split opened among congressional Republicans between those who are still deficit hawks and an increasing number, including top leaders, who no longer see deficits as the touchstone of fiscal probity.
After having spent the past four years in the minority, you would think congressional Republicans could actually come up with some sort of plans. Instead they lay out their “wish list”, but never present any path to make these wishes a reality.
That was scene again last week with the Republicans new “Pledge to America”. They once again gave us their list to Santa Claus, but the logistics of bringing these gifts from the North Pole to under our trees is nonexistent. John Boehner more or less even admitted it.
WALLACE: But forgive me, sir. I mean, isn't the right time to have the adult conversation now before the election when you have this document? Why not make a single proposal to cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid?
BOEHNER: Chris, this is what happens here in Washington. When you start down that path, you just invite all kinds of problems. I know. I've been there. I think we need to do this in a more systemic way and have this conversation first. Let's not get to the potential solutions. Let's make sure Americans understand how big the problem is. Then we can begin to talk about possible solutions and then work ourselves into those solutions that are doable.
When House Appropriations Committee chairman David Obey, the Wisconsin Democrat who has long championed investment in pandemic preparation, included roughly $900 million for that purpose in this year's emergency stimulus bill, he was ridiculed by conservative operatives and congressional Republicans.
Obey and other advocates for the spending argued, correctly, that a pandemic hitting in the midst of an economic downturn could turn a recession into something far worse -- with workers ordered to remain in their homes, workplaces shuttered to avoid the spread of disease, transportation systems grinding to a halt and demand for emergency services and public health interventions skyrocketing. Indeed, they suggested, pandemic preparation was essential to any responsible plan for renewing the U.S. economy.
But stories like this should come as no shock. We saw the exact same thing when Katrina hit. The Republicans believe that the public should be prepared, but the government doesn’t have to do anything. Just like when they said “it was the people’s fault for staying in Louisiana”, and wouldn’t cast any blame on a government that couldn’t be bothered to leave their vacation.
A new CBS/NYTimes poll has been released. While some numbers are to be expected, such as Obama’s 63% approval rating, there are other numbers that really stand out at me – particularly the publics view of bipartisanship and the Republicans. For starters, let’s look at the Republican opposition to the stimulus bill. What is the reason Americans think Republicans opposed this bill?
Mostly political reasons
Would be bad for the economy
So by more than a 2-1 margin the repondents felt the Republicans are playing politics. If that shouldn’t send up alarms at the GOP, then perhaps the party breakdown on this single question will
Mostly political reasons
Would be bad for the economy
So over 1/3 of the Republicans polled even think the Republicans are just playing games of politics. That should be alarming for a majority party, but when your party is already in the minority and that minority margin has been growing over the past two cycle, then you should be afraid.
Following up on what I said in my previous post, something else has come to mind. John McCain is seeing a lot of Republicans in Congress treat him like Bush. That is to say they don't want to be seen with him. Add to that the fact McCain always talks about not being voted "miss Congeniality" in the Senate, proof that he isn't that well liked by his own party, and you are stuck asking yourself what he could accomplish as President.
The Democrats will still have control of both houses of Congress next year. Even the Republicans have admitted that, and are just trying to limit the damage now. For a President to accomplish much of anything he needs political capital. If his party is the minority in Congress he needs them to block legislation he doesn't want to be seen vetoing. He also needs to make sure he has enough votes to uphold any vetoes. But with McCain building a wall between him and congressional Republicans, he won't have the support he needs.
I can't remember another election where the nominee was so disliked by their own party. McCain says he's a maverick, but a President needs to be able to work with either or both parties in order to accomplish anything. A President McCain will most likely end up being a very lonely person in the White House and could actually be a lame duck when he takes the oath of office. With that said, a President McCain would be much the same as a President Bush.
For someone who sure hates lobbyists, he just loves surrounding himself by them:
Presumptive Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain has engaged a leading GOP lobbyist to coordinate his message and travel schedule with congressional Republicans - the most concrete sign yet that the biggest battleground in the 2008 presidential race may not be Pennsylvania or Ohio or Florida's I-4 corridor but rather the floor of the United States Senate.
John Green, a founding partner of what is now Ogilvy Government Relations, will soon take a leave of absence from that firm to work as a full-time liaison between McCain's presidential campaign and Republicans in the House and the Senate, according to GOP aides on Capitol Hill and McCain surrogates downtown. Green, a Mississippi native, has strong ties in the Senate after his years of work for former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.), a vocal McCain supporter who left Congress late last year to set up his own lobbying shop.
You know what's wrong with this? The phoney phony baloney of being hypocritical about it. But I didn't say that. That's from Mississippi Governor and former RNC chair, Haley Barbour. Of course now Barbour endorses McCain, so they are BFFs again.
I find this appalling. Today John Boehner, my congressman, decided to blame the generals on the ground for the failures in Iraq.
How dare Mr. Boehner take such a stance against our military. This on the very day he threatened to "beat Mr. Kerry to death" because of Kerry's comments.
Now will the media attempt to clear themselves of their label of "media bias" and report none stop on what Mr. Boehner said today? John Kerry is not running for office this year, John Boehner is. This story demands at the very least the same amount of attention that the Kerry story received. We have the Majority Leader blasting our troops on the ground and our President making jokes about the very reason why 2,800+ United States soldiers have died.
WASHINGTON, Nov. 1 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid released the following statement on House Majority Leader John Boehner's decision to blame the troops for Republican failures in Iraq.
There's probably no way congressional Republicans can lose this fall, no matter how unpopular President Bush is or how unhappy the voters are with the war in Iraq. That's the prevailing view in Washington today.
But it's wrong.
If history is any guide, we're heading into a major political storm. And that means we could see a national tide in November that will sweep the Democrats back into the majority.
Virtually every public opinion measure points to a Category 4 or 5 hurricane gathering. Bush's job-approval rating is below 40 percent, and congressional job approval is more than 10 percentage points lower. Only a quarter of the electorate thinks the country is moving in the right direction, and voters are unhappy with the economy under Bush. Finally, Democrats hold a double-digit lead as the party the public trusts to do a better job of tackling the nation's problems and the party it would like to see controlling Congress.
What's causing the skepticism about Democrats' chances for victory in November are changing election patterns. Until recently, one of the few iron laws of American politics was that the president's party loses House seats in midterm elections, with the size of the loss depending on how many seats are at risk and how the public evaluates the president's performance. But all that seemed to change in 1998.
The real interesting part is here, where it highlights the biggest obstacle for Democrats:
First, party divisions may have hardened so much that few voters will be open to conversion. Party-line voting is at its highest level in decades. While many GOP voters are critical of Bush and the Republicans in Congress, many may return to the fold by November. On the other hand, there are enough pure independents and weak partisans to make a significant shift in the national vote possible.
Second, polls reveal a Democratic advantage in the level of interest in the midterm elections comparable to what the Republicans enjoyed in 1994. But it's still uncertain whether Republicans' traditionally higher turnout rates, combined with the GOP's vaunted get-out-the-vote operation, will significantly reduce or eliminate that advantage.
Third, when the president is in political peril, it is easier for the opposition party to recruit strong candidates and raise campaign money. But many analysts have noted the absence of strategic behavior on the part of the Democrats, who have failed to recruit good candidates and have allowed the Republicans to maintain a fundraising advantage.
I just received this little piece of good news in my email from the Ohio Democratic Party:
Cincinnati, Ohio - A poll released today shows Rep. Jean Schmidt tied with Dr. Victoria Wulsin, her Democratic challenger, in their race for Congress. A mere 33% of likely voters in Ohio's 2nd District approve of Schmidt's job performance and 53% disapprove. Wulsin is tied with Schmidt in their head-to-head match up and poised for a major victory on November 7.
The poll, conducted this past weekend by the Washington, D.C. firm Momentum Analysis, dispels any doubt about the competitiveness of the race. When asked whom they would vote for if the November 2006 elections were held today, 44% of respondents said they would vote for Wulsin, 44% would vote for Schmidt, and 11% were undecided. Despite the Republican voter registration advantage in the district, Schmidt's extremely low job approval ratings and personal approval ratings severely decrease her chances at re-election.
Although Republicans across the country are suffering low approval ratings, Schmidt's numbers are particularly bad - she is less popular even than President Bush, who has become a liability for Congressional Republicans seeking reelection. In Ohio's 2nd District, 41% of voters approve of Bush's job performance and 58% disapprove. Schmidt's 33%-53% approval-disapproval numbers are among the single worst among incumbent candidates across the country.
When we hear about "tax cuts", the Democrats cringe. This has always been the strong hold for Republicans in campaign issues, but that issue may be losing strength:
Support for tax cuts -- a signature campaign issue for congressional Republicans -- is waning on Capitol Hill, with the GOP-led Congress reaching its Independence Day recess with no tax-trimming victories to tout in home districts.
Senate majority leader Bill Frist last week was forced to withdraw a measure to cut the estate tax, which foes derisively call the ``death tax," because there was not enough support for it.
Income tax cuts and credits -- including an expansion of the very popular child tax credit -- are still due to expire at the end of the decade, but Congress has not been able to agree on a proposal to make them permanent. Congress also has failed to fix the Alternative Minimum Tax, which was meant to target wealthy people but which is increasingly encroaching on middle-class Americans.
Some lawmakers said their constituents, who once clamored for tax cuts, have recently begun quizzing them about the deficit and questioning whether the tax cuts were doing more for wealthier Americans than the middle class.
Senator Olympia Snowe , Republican of Maine and a member of the Senate Finance Committee, said proposals both to eliminate the estate tax and cut taxes on capital gains and dividends would help the wealthy, a fact that more of her constituents seem to emphasize as she campaigns for a third term.
Should it be any shock? Look at the past few presidencies, which can be picked out in this chart:
The Patriot Act has passed in the House and is not set to be signed by Bush.
In the AP article about this passing they had a paragraph that made me laugh:
The vote, 280-138 under special rules that required a two-thirds majority, marked a political victory for Bush and will allow congressional Republicans facing midterm elections this year to continue touting a tough-on-terror stance. Bush's approval ratings have suffered in recent months after revelations that he had authorized secret, warrantless wiretapping of Americans.
OK lets get this straight. The warrantless taps are only a small part of the reason why Bush's approval rating are in the dumps. As matter of fact, the Dubai port deal has hurt his approval rating even more and put the Democrats ahead of Republicans when it comes to the issue of national security.
It seems like this is some Republican happy spin to make things seem better. Well things aren't better. As matter of fact the Patriot Act has not even been that hot of a topic lately. More people are wondering about things like Dubai right now.
So does the patriot act passing mean Republicans are sitting pretty for this fall's elections? The answer is a definitive NO.
The more I read this story and think about it, the more pissed off I get.
Last week the House passed the tax cuts to extend them to 2010. The tax cuts
pertain mainly to capital gains and dividends, meaning that they affect the
upper-middle and upper classes of this country.
Yesterday the House took this action:
WASHINGTON -- Congressional Republicans made progress on twin tracks
Wednesday toward their end-of-year budget goals, passing a bill freezing or
cutting back spending on medical research and education and nearing
agreement on cuts to the Medicaid health care program for the poor.
The first measure, a $602 billion bill funding a wide variety of health,
education and labor programs, passed the House on a 215-213 vote. It would
cut federal aid to education for the first time in a decade, and spread
about $1.4 billion in cuts across the departments of Labor, Health and Human
Services, and Education.
This congress has once again proven they don't give a damn about the middle
and lower classes of this country. We have heard over the years that America is
changing and its work force must be trained for that change. What a better way
to prepare the country for that than to cut education and labor programs.
Congress is doing everything within its power to further separate the upper
class from the middle and lower classes. With the cost of campaigns rising to
over $30 million a seat, this action is destroying our democracy. In other
words, the Republicans in Congress have squashed the "American dream" and
destroyed our nation even more. All this in the name of greed.
I guess the elections last week is starting to bother the Republicans in
Senate. Now they want to pass a resolution forcing Bush to set a clear plan to
withdrawal from Iraq and also supply them with quarterly updates. The plan stops
short of requiring an actual timeline.
WASHINGTON, Nov. 14 - In a sign of increasing unease among Congressional
Republicans over the war in Iraq, the Senate is to consider on Tuesday a
Republican proposal that calls for Iraqi forces to take the lead next year in
securing the nation and for the Bush administration to lay out its strategy for
ending the war.
The Senate is also scheduled to vote Tuesday on a compromise, announced
Monday night, that would allow terror detainees some access to federal courts.
The Senate had voted last week to prohibit those being held from challenging
their detentions in federal court, despite a Supreme Court ruling to the
Now what Republican would show that unease and break ranks from the party
The proposal on the Iraq war, from Senator Bill Frist, the majority
leader, and Senator John W. Warner, Republican of Virginia, chairman of the
Armed Services Committee, would require the administration to provide
extensive new quarterly reports to Congress on subjects like progress in
bringing in other countries to help stabilize Iraq. The other appeals
related to Iraq are nonbinding and express the position of the Senate.