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ThePlumLIneGS whorunsgov plumline
Posted at 08:51 AM ET, 05/18/2011

The Morning Plum

* Inside the collapse of the “Gang of Six” talks on deficit: The bipartisan talks on deficit reduction are on the verge of collapse, and one of the key factors appears to be the intense pressure on GOP Senators from the right not to compromise with Dems by agreeing to any new revenues. What’s striking is that the starting point for these negotiations was already pretty far to the right — tax increases weren’t even part of the discussions, which focused instead on tax reform.

Even so, conservative opposition to a compromise forced Senator Tom Coburn to demand an unrealistic level of entitlement cuts in order to limit potential damage fom the right over any eventual deal. But as Perry Bacon notes, almost no Republicans seemed willing to join Coburn and GOP Senator Saxby Chambliss in any compromise involving new revenues.

In the end, despite all the attention perpetually lavished on bipartisan ”gangs,” the collapse of these talks may not matter much. The dealmaking that will really matter, as Mitch McConnell puts it, has to take place between the President and GOP Congressional leaders. But the unwillingness of GOPers and the right to budge on new revenues is the key takeaway here, and it doesn’t bode well for those talks, either.

* Can Dems force the issue on new revenues? Along those lines, Senate Dems are hoping to use their proposal to raise taxes on millionaires, which is easy to understand and popular, as leverage to force Republicans to agree to some other kind of revenue-increasing proposals.

* Rachel Maddow takes on the Bush torture dead enders: Don’t miss Maddow’s terrific and detailed takedown of the campaign to link torture to Bin Laden’s death, in which she rightly calls this out for what it is: A desperate rearguard campaign to claim a piece of Bin Laden’s death for Bush’s legacy.

Also note: Maddow couldn’t get Rick Santorum to apologize to torture victim John McCain for claiming he doesn’t know jack about torture.

* Newt’s epic implosion continues: Gingrich calls Paul Ryan to personally apologize for his apostasy about the Ryan Medicare plan, and puts Dems on notice that quoting him accurately is off limits:

“Any ad which quotes what I said on Sunday is a falsehood, because I have said publicly those words were inaccurate and unfortunate.”

Newt’s entrance into the presidential race without a coherent position on one of the central political and policy questions of the moment — one that’s emerging as a litmus test issue for GOP 2012 hopefuls — is one of the most glaring examples of political malpractice we’ve seen in quite some time.

* Newt still taking a beating from the right: The Post has a nice wrap-up of the near universal condemnation Gingrich has taken from conservatives, which is really quite remarkable in its unity and vehemence.

* What Gingrich’s implosion tells us about today’s GOP: Dana Milbank says Newt hasn’t changed, and the real problem is with today’s Republican Party:

Compared to today’s Republican agenda, the Revolution of ’94 now appears to be a halcyon period of moderation and good sense.

* Let’s stop pretending Gingrich is a serious candidate: James Fallows cuts through all the B.S.:

Every member of the political press corps knows that the chance of Newt Gingrich becoming the 45th president of the United States is zero.

* Darrell Issa fact check of the day: Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler tears apart GOP Rep. Darrell Issa’s claim that the Mexican government labeled an Obama administration initiative to track guns into Mexico an “act of war.” Funny stuff.

* Obama to speak on “Arab spring”: With Obama set to deliver a speech tomorrow that will attempt to formulate a coherent vision of current Mideast tummult, the question is whether he will seize on this singular moment of change to put forth a new Israeli-Palestinian peace initiative.

Some Obama officials say he’s mulling ways to do that.

* Another setback for opponents of health reform? I’d missed this yesterday, but Jonathan Cohn had a good catch indicating that efforts to overturn the Affordable Care Act in court may be hitting a rough patch.

* The incredible shrinking Sarah Palin: As Andrew Sullivan notes, it really is remarkable how rapidly she’s vanished as a factor from media coverage of the 2012 GOP primary.

* And Michele Bachmann continues inching towards presidential run: Speaking of Republicans who will never, ever be president, she’s now shopping around a book, an apparent must in conservative presidential candidates.

What else is happening?

By  |  08:51 AM ET, 05/18/2011

 
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