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ThePlumLIneGS whorunsgov plumline
Posted at 08:37 AM ET, 09/23/2011

The Morning Plum

* GOP debate crowds continue to embarrass their party: What if the big story at the GOP debates isn’t just what the candidates say, but what the crowd reactions say about the party? Certainly, it’s not fair to tar the whole GOP with the poor taste exhibited by a few, but last night a few voices seemed to boo a gay soldier, and Jonathan Bernstein gets at a point that’s going underappreciated:

The ability of these Republican debate crowds to embarrass their party — his time, by booing the gay soldier — continues to be the theme of the debate season.

The simple fact is that even if these reactions aren’t representative, they’re newsworthy, they’re embarrassing the GOP, and they’re putting the candidates in an awkward spot. Consider this headline in The Hill:

Gay soldier booed at GOP debate, candidates stay mum

The DNC is already circulating video of the event, which is a clear indication that the footage of these episodes will find its way to a TV set near you during the general election.

* Dems remain unified against House GOP over disaster funding: As Rosalind Helderman and Paul Kane note, one key dynamic in the House passage of the spending bill yesterday is that Dems are finally mustering real unity against the GOP’s insistence on offsetting disaster funding with spending cuts to a program funding energy efficient cars.

This comes after a summer of making concessions to GOP demands for cuts. On the Senate side, Dems are continuing with the hard line, vowing to defeat the House bill and insisting the GOP support a clean disaster relief bill, making a government shutdown very possible.

* Dramatically diminished expectations for Congress: Steve Benen has a must-read post comparing the hugely productive Congress of 2009-2010 with the current one, and notes, crucially, that we’ve all dramatically downscaled our expectations for what it can achieve:

We’ve reached the point where everyone is quite impressed when Washington manages, after painful disputes that seem to drag on endlessly, to somehow keep the lights on. Passing meaningful legislation is a pipe dream, if not literally laughable.
At this point, the political world is relieved when federal policymakers struggle to just barely complete the most basic tasks. We’ve set the bar for success so low, avoiding shutdowns is somehow deemed an accomplishment.

* Obama campaign keeps calling out Republicans by name: After Obama directly called out John Boehner yesterday, the campaign shared Boehner’s direct office number with supporters and directed them to call the Speaker and urge passage of the jobs bill. This will likely provoke scowls of disapproval from certain commentators, but it will please the “professional left,” which has consistently called on Obama to target Republicans by name.

* Elizabeth Warren, “class warfare,” and the social contract: I’m glad to see that Paul Krugman has given a big plug to that great Elizabeth Warren video from earlier this week, and is using it as part of his excellent demolition job on the bogus allegations of “class warfare”coming from the right.

Krugman’s summary of Warren’s argument: “the rich can only get rich thanks to the `social contract’ that provides a decent, functioning society in which they can prosper.”

* Left to keep pressuring supercommittee to focus on jobs: Chris Bowers urges the left to keep mounting an organizational campaign to pressure the super committee to get its priorities right, a sign that activists will continue to see this as a pressure point even as it remains unlikely that the committee will adopt any truly significant or meaningful job creation measures.

* Pelosi pushes supercommittee: In case you missed it, Brian Beutler notes that Nancy Pelosi has now come out strongly in favor of having the CBO score the supercommittee proposals for jobs impact.

Pelosi so often gets it right where other Dems don’t. It will be interesting to see if she is able to persuade supercommittee Dems, who are privately reluctant to adopt this idea, to change their minds and push Republicans on the committee to embrace it, too.

* Obama reelect reality check of the day: Jonathan Capehart takes stock of polls showing dropping support for Obama among African Americans, and puts the left on notice that the time has come to recognize reality:

Obama cannot afford to have his base, especially African Americans, stay home on Nov. 6, 2012. That’s why I’ve had it with the progressive-liberal circular firing squad and the incessant pining for President Hillary.They sow discontent among the base and suppress voter turnout. Do enough of that and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell will get his wish — and the wish of every Republican. Barack Obama will be a one-term president.

* Romney again falsely claims Obama apologized for America: No one seems to care about this, but as Glenn Kessler notes, Romney again repeated that ridiculous falsehood about Obama apologizing for America even though Romney surely knows it’s been completely debunked.

Key takeaway: As always, GOP efforts to sow doubts about Obama’s commitment to this country are mostly accepted as par for the course, as just part of the game.

* Rebutting Ron Suskind: Jacob Weisberg goes deep into Suskind’s journalistic record to argue that you shouldn’t trust his reporting about the alleged sexism in the White House and the chaotic economic policy-making.

* Classic non-denial of Suskind’s charges: But: Ben Smith bounces Suskind’s claims off of Peter Orszag, a key White House player who had remained mostly silent on the Suskind controversy, and Orsag’s response is a classic non-denial denial that doesn’t even address the book’s central charges.

* Jewish voters not disproportionately disillusioned with Obama: The New York Times’s Laurie Goodstein gets it right: Jewish American support for Obama hasn’t dropped any lower than that of Americans across the board, and they remain far more supportive of Obama than other Americans.

* And Could Palin still enter the presidential race — in late October?At first I thought this was more Palin hucksterism. But as Real Clear Politics’ Scott Conroy notes, Palin clearly is convinced of her own ability to succeed with what might be delicately termed a “non traditional approach,” so it really may still be too soon to write her off.

What else is happening?

By  |  08:37 AM ET, 09/23/2011

 
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