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ThePlumLIneGS whorunsgov plumline
Posted at 08:55 AM ET, 08/03/2011

The Morning Plum

* Debt deal sets stage for epic ideological clash in 2012: The debt ceiling deal yesterday sounded the opening gun in the 2012 elections. Both parties are already drawing hard lines on what they expect the “super-committee” created by the debt deal to do on taxes and entitlements. Republicans are already insisting that they won’t appoint anyone who will raise revenues. Dems claim they won’t allow it to touch entitlements benefits and will insist on tax hikes, though liberals are highly skeptical that they’ll abide by that promise.

The debt deal has ensured that these battles, over what seem to be in­trac­table ideological divides, will frame the 2012 elections.

* Obama reelection team vows a sharp contrast: Case in point: David Axelrod is already vowing to use these issues to contrast the parties in 2012:

“This has helped crystallize the debate. There is no doubt there will be a very distinct choice.”

Watch for liberals to use this as a pressure point, urging the White House and Dems to draw a firm line on high-end taxes and Medicare and Social Security benefits in order to ensure that the electorate does understand the choice they face.

* Obama administration intensifies push to sell debt deal: Timothy Geithner publishes an Op ed in the Post pressing the case that the debt deal will create a powerful incentive for both sides to use the “supercommittee” to reach genuine compromises on tax and entitlement reform, though it remains to be seen whether the parties’ differences will be bridged without one side essentially caving.

* Dear Dems: Get ready for a fight on the super-committee: Dems should take Steve Benen’s advice to heart:

The Republican line to Dems, in effect, is pretty straightforward: “We’ll name far-right members who’ll demand another cuts-only package; you should name moderates who’ll help us do this.”...
And with Republicans already taking an antagonistic attitude about the next round of talks that haven’t even started, Democrats would be fools not to approach the next phase with confrontation in mind.

* Can Obama finally manage that pivot to jobs? With Obama now promising a hard pivot, Ben Smith offers a stark assessment that many on the left would agree with: Partly due to circumstances beyond the White House’s control, “Obama has spent very little of his presidency publicly driving a conversation about jobs.”

Key takeaway: The resolution of the debt deal would seem to provide the perfect hook to finally pull off this pivot. But the remainder of Obama’s first term will be all about whether external constraints — divided government; implacable GOP hostility to spending; coming fights over budgets, tax reform and entitlements — will allow it to happen in any meaningful sense before the election.

* Will debt deal give Obama maneuvering room on jobs? Obama is set to launch a bus tour in important electoral battlegrounds later this month, and Obama aides are hoping Obama’s success in getting a debt deal done will buy him the credibility he needs to pursue jobs proposals.

* Congressional Dems hopeful that pivot to jobs is real this time: Chuck Schumer offers the optimist’s view:

“With this debt-reduction package completed, the decks are now clear for a single-minded focus on jobs in September. The jobs issue won’t have to play second fiddle to the deficit issue anymore.”

Right, but is there anything meaningful in the way of actual job-creation policy that can pass Congress?

* White House hopes recess plays in Obama’s favor: With Republicans unlikely to support any jobs initiatives that involve government spending, White House officicals are hoping that members of Congress back home in their districts get an earful from constitutents angry about unemployment, hopefully shifting the political dynamic in their favor.

* The GOP’s idea of job-creation policy: Meanwhile, Republicans are developing their own jobs message to take home to recess:

“We’ll make it better; making it easier and cheaper to create private-sector jobs.”

I’m sure you feel better already.

* Will independents reward Obama for debt deal? One thing worth watching: The debt deal is the first good test case of the Obama reelection team’s apparent belief that a key way to win back independents is to forge grand bipartisan compromises on key issues facing the country.

* And the Twitter hashtag of the day: #pivot2jobs

What else is going on?

By  |  08:55 AM ET, 08/03/2011

 
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