Jamelle Bouie

Joe Lieberman Does Not Deserve Your Sympathy

Wikipedia

Joe Lieberman left the Senate for the last time today, and the Washington Post‘s Dana Milbank was there to witness his lonely departure. For Milbank, Senate Democrats’ clear disdain for the Connecticut senator is further evidence of the polarization and incivility that mark modern Washington:

A few more senators arrived during the 20-minute speech, but even by the end Lieberman was very much alone — which is how it has been for much of his 24-year tenure. He tried to push back against the mindless partisanship that developed in the chamber, and he paid dearly for it.

Susan Rice Withdraws

Wikipedia

After weeks of attacks from Senate Republicans, U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice has withdrawn herself from consideration for Secretary of State.

Full Employment is the Best Deficit Reduction Plan

Google

Despite the fact that Democrats have already agreed to large spending cuts, the Republican position continues to be that further reductions are needed, despite the fact that spending on social programs has already been cut to the bone.

The problem, of course, is that there just isn’t much money left in social programs, absent major, unpopular cuts to programs like Social Security and Medicare. Those aside, the most ripe area for savings is the Pentagon, and Republicans have no interest in reducing military spending—indeed, Mitt Romney spent the past year campaigning on more military spending, regardless of actual needs.

If deficit reduction is a priority, then more revenue is needed. This chart illustrates the problem:

The GOP Isn't for "Small Government"

Gage Skidmore / Flickr

Jonathan Chait nails why Republicans can’t offer specific spending cuts, either in the current negotiations over the fiscal cliff, or—you know—ever.

The Republican Bait-and-Switch

Detroit Regional Chamber / Flickr

One striking thing about Governor Rick Snyder’s successful push for a right-to-work law in Michigan—and Scott Walker’s similar push against public employee unions in Wisconsin—is that they relied on bait-and-switch tactics.

Yep, Washington Is Out-of-Touch

Kevin Burkett / Flickr

Like Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei at Politico, Charlie Cook does a nice job of unintentionally revealing the huge blindspots of our business elites:

While the vast majority of major corporate leaders either backed Mitt Romney last year or stayed neutral, they don’t really see the Republican Party as the good guys and Democrats as the bad guys. They see the whole political and governing process as dysfunctional. They believe that even the smart, well-intentioned, and economically sophisticated policymakers on both sides of the aisle are rendered almost powerless by the extremists.

No Need for New Ideas

Gage Skidmore / Flickr

Gage Skidmore / Flickr

Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina speaking at the 2012 Liberty Political Action Conference in Chantilly, Virginia.

Bill Clinton: The Drug War "Hasn't Worked"

World Economic Forum / Flickr

This isn't as radical sounding as it looks—Bill Clinton is only expressing regret about a particular set of operations run by his administration—but it's still a noteworthy change of sentiment from a president who greatly expanded the war on drugs.

It's All About the Tax Brackets

Google

Conservatives might think otherwise, but the liberal focus on repealing the upper-income Bush tax cuts has less to do with higher taxes for their own sake, and more to do with revenue—we need it—and basic distributional concerns: The rich have been extremely well-served by the economy, taking a huge percentage of all income produced since 1979.

In Defense of 2016 Speculation

Gage Skidmore/Flickr

Over at The Atlantic, Conor Friedersdorf mocks the breathless 2016 speculation with a post "gearing up for the 2048 presidential election."

Who Wants Moar Medicaid?

Washington Post

At Wonkblog, Sarah Kliff has a revealing map of the states that have agreed to the Obamacare Medicaid expansion, are undecided, or have rejected it.

Bobby Jindal Makes a Splash with Terrible Ideas

Derek Bridges / Flickr

The title of this post is harsh, but when you consider the actual effects of the policies he endorses in this Politico op-ed, it's fair to wonder if he's trying to provoke a combination economic/constitutional crisis.

Exit Jim DeMint. Enter ... Tim Scott?

North Charleston / Flickr

Arch-conservative Senator Jim DeMint—who is something of an Avatar for the Tea Party in Congress—is retiring to join the Heritage Foundation as its new president.

An End to Debt Ceiling Shenanigans?

Center for American Progress

Via Matthew Yglesias, Gene Sperling, director of the National Economic Council, explains one of the administration's key demands as deals with Republicans on the fiscal cliff—an end to the debt ceiling as a negotiation tool:

Ryan and Rubio Blow Steam, Stay on Course

Jamelle Bouie / The American Prospect

It's clear from their negotiations over the fiscal cliff that Republicans have not abandoned their commitment to lower taxes on the rich and fewer services for ordinary Americans. They continue to support a bare bones federal government, regardless of the damage it would do to middle- and working-class families.

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