TOP NEWS: Democracy: August 3, 2012
- Leaving Bills Behind, Congress Goes to Campaign
- July jobs reports offers fodder for both campaigns
- President Again Blasts Tax Proposal of Romney’s
- The Obama Jobs Sequester
- Romney responds to Reid: ‘Put up or shut up’
Excerpts and More Top Stories
Jennifer Steinhauer, NY Times – An effort to provide emergency aid for American ranchers and farmers reeling from a year of drought, frost and other calamities collapsed on Thursday as members of Congress departed for their five-week August recess, leaving behind a pile of unfinished legislation as they go home to campaign for re-election.
ELECTIONS 2012/JOBS REPORT: July jobs reports offers fodder for both campaigns
David A. Fahrenthold, Washington Post – The jobs figures released Friday present a complicated snapshot of a slow economic recovery: Hiring is up — but so is the unemployment rate. Given that jobs are widely considered to be the most important issue in the upcoming presidential election, the data provide ammunition for both candidates.
ELECTIONS 2012/ ROMNEY TAX PROPOSAL: President Again Blasts Tax Proposal of Romney’s
Jackie Calmes, NY Times – President Obama on Thursday continued his swing-state offensive against Mitt Romney’s tax-cut plans, deriding them as a boon to the rich at the expense of everyone else — “trickle-down tax-cut fairy dust,” he called them at a college here.
ELECTIONS 2012/ ROMNEY TAX PLAN: Romney’s Tax Hike
David Firestone, NY Times – The Romney campaign’s increasingly desperate attempts to dismiss a new study of its tax plan are a pretty good sign that the study is devastating. That isn’t to say the campaign is trying to counter it with actual specifics.
FISCAL CLIFF/SEQUESTER: The Obama Jobs Sequester
Kimberley A. Stressel, WSJ, Opinion – Jobs, and his own re-election, were on Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown’s tortured mind this week, when he publicly called on the president to do something about Defense Department cuts that threaten to shutter his state’s Mansfield Lahm Air National Guard Base—and with it, 1,000 jobs. The cuts might be “penny wise,” griped the senator, but they were “pound foolish.”
CIVIL DIALOGUE/ ROMNEY/REID: Romney responds to Reid: ‘Put up or shut up’
Rachel Weiner, Washington Post – Mitt Romney personally responded to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) today, telling the Democrat to offer some proof of his tax claims or stop making them. “It’s time for Harry to put up or shut up,” Romney told Fox News Radio.
ROMNEY/ABROAD: Romney’s excellent trip
Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post, Opinion – At the outset of his recent foreign trip, Mitt Romney committed a gaffe. In answer to a question about the Olympics, he expressed skepticism about London’s preparations. The response confounded and exasperated Romney supporters because it was such an unforced error. The question invited a simple paean to Olympic spirit and British grit, not the critical analysis of a former Olympic organizer.
Lori Montgomery, Washington Post - It was supposed to be a first step toward tax reform. But as lawmakers tackled a list of 75 special-interest tax breaks, the special interests repeatedly won. An accelerated write-off for owners of NASCAR tracks: That has to stay.
PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY: The Credit Illusion
David Brooks, NY Times, Opinion – Dear Mr. Opinion Guy, Over the past few years, I’ve built a successful business. I’ve worked hard, and I’m proud of what I’ve done. But now President Obama tells me that social and political forces helped build that. Mitt Romney went to Israel and said cultural forces explain the differences in the wealth of nations. I’m confused.
CYBERERSECURITY: Cybersecurity Bill Is Blocked in Senate by G.O.P. Filibuster
Michael S. Schmidt, NY Times – A cybersecurity bill that had been one of the Obama administration’s top national security priorities was blocked by a Republican filibuster in the Senate on Thursday, severely limiting its prospects this year.
ELECTIONS 2012/PUBLIC OPINION: Proper role of Government? Liberty, through the lens
Ann Gerhart;, Washington Post – Get people talking about politics this year, and the conversation is impassioned, often difficult, sometimes searching: What is the proper role for government in America today? What’s a safety net and what’s a handout? Where do my rights stop and yours begin?
Scott Shane, NY TImes – Does more liberty necessarily mean less security, and vice versa? Absolutely not, according to some of the readers who commented on my post on the security trade-offs of the post-9/11 decade for The Agenda, our continuing discussion of fundamental issues getting less than full debate in the presidential campaign.
CIVIL DIALOGUE: On Political Disagreement
Gary Gutting, NY Times – Many proponents of the Affordable Care Act think there’s an overwhelming case for a government-supported expansion of medical coverage; opponents just as often think there’s an overwhelming case against. Many people may think it’s a complicated issue on which those knowledgeable and reasonable may disagree. But we don’t often hear from them in public debates. The typical op-ed column or letter to the editor implies that anyone competent to judge the issue should agree with its view.
DISNEYLAND/ RACIAL TENSION: Fury Reveals Deep Rifts Near ‘Happiest Place on Earth’
Jennifer Medina, NY Times – Visitors to Disneyland pull off the freeway here and drive along dense rows of palm trees on pristine streets, past dozens of hotels beckoning them to stay. It is, the park’s marketing material says, “the Happiest Place on Earth.” A few blocks away, though, a deep fury has boiled over. There have been days of protests, at times violent, with the police responding in combat gear and placing sharpshooters to guard their headquarters. The mayor says he has never seen such mistrust and anger in two decades in the city.
ALTERNATIVE FUEL/ FRAUD: Fraud Fears Put a Chill in Fuel Program
Ryan Tracy and Ben Lefebvre, WSJ – A government program designed in part to foster innovative new producers of alternative diesel fuels is now endangered by fears of burgeoning fraud. Congress in 2005 and 2007 set mandates requiring major oil refiners to purchase credits representing gallons of diesel-motor fuel made from alternative sources, such as cooking oil and soybeans.
OBAMA/PENN STATE: Obama: Penn State Punishment Fit Crime
Jared A. Favole, WSJ – President Barack Obama told a sports radio station that Pennsylvania State University got the punishment it deserved over a child sexual abuse scandal that has captivated the nation. “Joe Paterno was a great football coach. But there are some things that are just more important than sports. Making sure our kids are safe is more important than sports,” Mr. Obama said in a brief interview with WBNS Radio in Columbus, Ohio, that aired Thursday.
CIVIL DIALOGUE /RACIST TWEETS: More Obama derangement syndrome, this time in racist tweet from Puerto Rican political adviser
Mary C. Curtis, Washington Post – In the endless arguments over whether certain criticisms of President Obama are racist, there are cases when the answer is clear. In that category we can place angry, barely coherent tweets by a political adviser in Puerto Rico.
More on Elections 2012
ELECTIONS 2012: POLL: Obama Extends Electoral College Advantage
Nate Silver, NY Times – Barack Obama’s standing in the FiveThirtyEight forecast reached its strongest position to date on Tuesday as a result of favorable polls in a set of swing states. The forecast model now gives Mr. Obama a 70.8 percent chance of winning the Electoral College, up from 69.0 percent on Monday and from 65.0 percent last Tuesday.
ELECTIONS 2012: G.O.P. Governors Gather to Rally Around Romney
Richard A. Oppel Jr., NY Times – After a rocky trip to Europe and Israel in which his remarks drew complaints from British and Palestinian leaders, Mitt Romney flew Thursday to Colorado, an important swing state, to try to regain his footing and refocus his campaign on his core message of renewing the economy.
ELECTIONS 2012/ADVERTISING: A tough new Obama ad that — surprise! — is accurate
Glenn Kessler, Washington Post – Romney certainly made a lot of money in 2010 — $21.7 million, according to his tax return — and yet his tax rate was about 13.9 percent. As we have noted before, he achieves this rate because much of his income is treated as capital gains and dividends, which are taxed at a preferential rate of 15 percent, and because he donates about 14 percent of his income to charity.
ELECTIONS 2012/BILL CLINTON: The Life of the Party: What Bill Clinton could add to the Obama re-election effort.
Peggy Noonan, WSJ, Opinion – There was lots of chatter this week about the decision to have Bill Clinton speak in prime time on the penultimate night of the Democratic Convention. Is it a sign of panic? Would the president give Big Dawg such a prominent spot if he wasn’t nervous?
ELECTIONS 2012/PALIN ENDORSEMENT: Palin hopes to extend winning streak with Missouri endorsement
Rosiland S. Helderman and Paul Kane, Washington Post – Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin — though derided on the left and recently dismissed by former vice president Dick Cheney as a poor pick in 2008 — is nevertheless proving her enduring power within the Republican Party in the most concrete of ways: She keeps picking winners.
ELECTIONS 2012/CONVENTIONS: Political conventions: Have they fizzled out?
Alexander Burns and Maggie Haberman, Politico – It’s become a quadrennial dilemma for Democrats and Republicans alike: How do you make a national political convention meaningful when all the events are pre-programmed; the presidential nominee has already been chosen; and most of the proceedings aren’t even broadcast on television?
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