Today's Christian Science Monitor has a really insightful piece that frames Scott Walker's work in Wisconsin as part of an attempt to model the state's economy along Southern lines. In the South, states tend to work with a combination of "weak unions, a business-friendly climate, a thin social safety net, and lower taxes." To wit, Walker's union-busting has been coupled with large tax cuts for wealthy interests and deep cuts in education and local aid. If the modern Republican Party is mostly a Southern creature, then Walker is something of a poster boy for its ongoing effort to export the South's "methods" to the rest of the country.
On Monday, President Barack Obama met with the nation's governors and announced his support for the first major amendment to the Affordable Care Act since the bill was signed last March. The proposal, crafted by Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon and Republican Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts, would allow states to opt out of key planks of the health-care bill provided they met the administration's benchmarks.
Given the political heat Obama has taken from Republican governors over health-care reform, you could think that this proposal represents a small step toward capitulation. But that would be wrong. In truth, this measure is a major first step toward securing the Affordable Care Act's short-term viability.
For further evidence that the Republican Party is motivated entirely by anti-liberal grievance, here is some unwelcome news out of the Capitol's cafeteria:
When the House returns Monday from a week-long recess, members and staffers will see something that hasn't been in the Capitol for four years: Styrofoam.
In the first move toward phasing out part of Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's (D-Calif.) "Green the Capitol" program, polystyrene cups were reintroduced this week as an option for coffee drinkers in the Capitol Carry-Out, the building's mini-cafeteria.
If this Washington Postpiece is any indication, African Americans are basically “meh” about President Obama’s decision not to defend the Defense of Marriage Act:
Two and a half years later, religious African Americans are having a more nuanced response to an announcement last week by the Obama administration that the government will no longer defend a federal law banning same-sex marriage.
Some say the decision is dismaying, though not damning. Others may be rethinking their views, given the influence Obama has in the African American community. And there are those who don't seem to care much at all.