TOP NEWS: Democracy: August 2, 2012
- Dan Senor Draws Attention to Romney Mideast Policy
- Tea Party Aims to Apply Its Touch to the Senate G.O.P.
- House Approves Extension of the Bush-Era Tax Cuts
- Chick-fil-A faces long lines, protests
- The flawed basis behind fetal-pain abortion laws
Excerpts and More Top Stories
ELECTION 2012/ROMNEY ABROAD: Dan Senor, Advisor Draws Attention to Romney Mideast Policy
Michael D. Shear, NY Times – Dan Senor’s views and influence have drawn new scrutiny to Mr. Romney’s Mideast positions, particularly after Mr. Senor said last week that Mr. Romney respected Israel’s right to pre-emptively strike Iran’s nuclear facilities. Campaign aides conceded that Mr. Senor got “a little ahead” of Mr. Romney on Iran, but said it had not diminished his role at the campaign.
ELECTION 2012/ECONOMIC POLICY: The Romney Plan for Economic Recovery
Glenn Hubbard, Wall Street Journal, Opinion – The Romney economic plan would fundamentally change the direction of policy to increase GDP and job creation now and going forward by planning to stop runaway federal spending and debt, reform the nation’s tax code to increase growth and job creation, reform entitlement programs to ensure their viability, and make growth and cost-benefit analysis important features of regulation.
ELECTION 2012: The Obama Ad Blitz Isn’t Working
Karl Rove, Wall Street Journal, Opinion – The race is tied in the July 30 Gallup poll at 46%. Neither have the ads strengthened public approval of Mr. Obama’s handling of the economy, which is stuck at 44% in the July 22 NBC/WSJ poll, nor have they erased Mr. Romney’s seven-point lead in that poll regarding who has “good ideas for how to improve the economy.”
ELECTION 2012/VEEPSTAKES: Place your bets: GOPers start speaking up on veeps
Emily Schultheis and Maggie Haberman, Politico – As the hour draws near for Mitt Romney to pick his running mate, a slew of prominent Republicans are making their own feelings known — laying down markers of their own in very public ways that let them either claim ownership, or express disappointment, down the road.
ELECTION 2012: Enduring a loveless campaign
Joe Scarborough, Politico, Opinion – When I found myself in the middle of a campaign, I loved every second of the battle, but “love” is not the word that comes to mind when I look at the campaigns that have blighted the political landscape in 2012. Instead, this election has been reduced to a race between dreary campaigns, dumb issues and detached candidates.
ELECTION 2012/ROMNEY ABROAD: Romney Hasn’t Done His Homework
Jared Diamond, NY Times, Opinion – Romney’s latest controversial remark, about the role of culture in explaining why some countries are rich and powerful while others are poor and weak, has attracted much comment. In short, geographic explanations and cultural-institutional explanations aren’t independent of each other.
ELECTION 2012: Obama Is Not a Fan of America’s Suburbs
Stanley Kurtz, National Review - Obama is a longtime supporter of “regionalism,” the idea that the suburbs should be folded into the cities, merging schools, housing, transportation, and above all taxation. To this end, the president has already put programs in place designed to push the country toward a sweeping social transformation in a possible second term. The goal: income equalization via a massive redistribution of suburban tax money to the cities.
Jennifer Steinhauer, NY Times – The Tea Party is very much alive in the drive for Republican control of the Senate, portending a potential shake-up in the mind-set of the chamber. Among 17 contested Senate races and in Texas, more than half a dozen of the Republican candidates — or those currently running ahead in their primaries — are Tea Party-embraced.
TEA PARTY: Ted Cruz rises to top of Texas politics
Krissah Thompson, Washington Post – Polls last summer projected Cruz would receive 2 percent of the vote but he quickly pulled in the support of the state’s tea party movement and big-name backers, including Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), former Alaska governor Sarah Palin and columnist George F. Will.
Investor’s Biz Daily - The Tea Party is deservedly celebrating a stirring win by former Texas solicitor general Cruz in a runoff that determined which Republican vies for the seat of retiring Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison in November. Cruz finished with nearly 57% of the vote.
Jonathan Weisman, NY Times – The House on Wednesday easily approved a one-year extension of all the Bush-era tax cuts set to expire in January, but in the Senate, presidential politics are complicating efforts to extend a tax credit for wind power.
TAX REFORM: Obama Says Romney’s Tax Plan Favors Wealthy Only
Jackie Calmes, NY Times – President Obama assailed Mitt Romney for “top-down economics” in his ninth trip this year to Ohio, brandishing a new study showing that Mr. Romney’s plans would mean additional large tax cuts for millionaires at the expense of other Americans.
TAX REFORM: Senate Agrees on Tax Breaks
John D. McKinnon and Laura Meckler, Wall Street Journal – Senators reached a deal to extend a range of temporary tax breaks for businesses and individuals and to let about two dozen others expire, indicating possible bigger changes in store on taxes.
CHICK-FIL-A/GAY MARRIAGE: Chick-fil-A faces long lines, protests
Tomer Ovadia, Politico – Chick-fil-A restaurants around the country on Wednesday faced long lines of customers and packs of protesters — all of them responding, in one way or another, to former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee’s call for an “appreciation day” for the chicken chain that opposes same-sex marriage.
GAY MARRAIGE: Democrats Draft Gay Marriage Platform
Jeremy W. Peters and Michael D. Shear, NY Times – Democrats appear ready to embrace same-sex marriage as part of their party platform, a policy shift that reflects an expanded acceptance of gay rights in mainstream politics.
I. Glenn Cohen, Washington Post, Opinion – On Thursday, Arizona’s new abortion law will take effect, outlawing the procedure after 20 weeks of pregnancy — a much earlier threshold than in any other law that has been upheld in court. Although these laws rely on dubious medical science, they aim to exploit a loophole in the law and tempt federal judges disposed against abortion rights to find them constitutional.
Kathryn Smith, Politico – The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday issued a preliminary injunction that will block an Arizona law banning abortion after 20 weeks from going into effect this week. Responding to an emergency appeal filed by the Center for Reproductive Rights and the ACLU after a federal district court judge upheld the law on Monday, the circuit court Wednesday temporarily blocked the law from being implemented on Aug. 2 while the court considers the case against it.
VOTING RIGHTS: Voter Suppression and Political Polls
Charles M. Blow, NY Times, Opinion – Polls are the best way to find out who plans to vote and for whom they plan to vote. But this year, we may have to take the polls with an even larger grain of salt than usual. The greatest margin of uncertainty may well be caused by poll respondents who think that they will able to vote for President Obama in November, but may not be allowed to do so.
CAMPAIGN FINANCE: Further Review for Secret Donations
NY Times, Editorial – The ploy of disguising secretly financed political machines as tax-exempt “social welfare” organizations has become one of the alarming trademarks of modern, big-money politics. Fortunately, the Internal Revenue Service is, at last, promising to review and consider changing 50-year-old rules governing the limits of political activity for social welfare nonprofits that enjoy exemptions under section 501(c)(4) of the tax code.
CAMPAIGN FINANCE: Influence Industry: Small group makes big dent on super PAC individual donations, study says
Bill Turque, Washington Post – Just 47 people account for more than half (57.1 percent) of the $230 million raised by super PACs from individual donors, according to the study by U.S. Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG) and Demos, two liberal research and advocacy organizations. Just over 1,000 donors giving $10,000 or more were responsible for 94 percent of the money raised.
WOMEN IN POLITICS: Gillibrand works to elect more women
Ed O’Keefe, Washington Post – There are just 17 women serving in the Senate and 75 in the House, a slight drop from earlier years. Gillibrand told her donors that she wants more women in the House and Senate, because “if we had 50 percent of women in Congress, we would not be debating contraception. We would be debating the economy, small business, jobs, national security — everything but.”
GOVERNMENT REFORM: Three Easy Ways to End Cronyism
Peter Schweizer, Op-Ed – Both political parties are talking about cronyism and insider dealing. But it’s only talk, because they are unwilling to take the steps necessary to clean up their own houses, such as stopping government loans or grants to firms or entities connected to campaign bundlers and large financial supporters and complete transparency when it comes to campaign financiers and bundlers.
John R. Lott Jr., Wall Street Journal, Opinion – In the wake of the recent mass shooting in Colorado, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg called on police to join him in fighting for more gun control. National surveys of street officers are rare, but they show officers to be overwhelmingly in favor of law-abiding civilians owning and carrying guns.
Joe Stephens and Carol D. Leonnig, Washington Post – As the Obama administration moved last year to bail out Solyndra, the embattled flagship of the president’s initiative to promote alternative energy, a White House budget analyst calculated that millions of taxpayer dollars might be saved by cutting the government’s losses, shuttering the company immediately and selling its assets, according to a congressional investigation.
Andrew Restuccia, Politico – House Energy and Commerce Committee Republicans approved their No More Solyndras Act on Wednesday, capping off a nearly 18-month investigation into the Energy Department’s loan guarantee program.
INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS: Freer — and Less Free
Roger Cohen, NY Times, Opinion – The balance between personal freedom and government oversight has gotten seriously skewed throughout the West.
CYBERDEFENSE: A Law to Strengthen Our Cyberdefense
Ashton B. Carter, Jane Holl Lute, NY Times, Opinion – Just as we have a multilevel system to protect our ports, so America needs a robust system of cyberdefense.
HEALTHCARE: The Road to Repealing ObamaCare
Sen. Mitch McConnell, Real Clear Politics - In the wake of the Supreme Court’s hairsplitting decision to uphold Obamacare, Republicans in Congress have redoubled our efforts to get this monstrosity off the books. If the court won’t do it, we must.
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