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ThePlumLIneGS whorunsgov plumline
Posted at 09:10 AM ET, 09/22/2011

The Morning Plum

* Is there any way to get the supercommittee to think about jobs? With the deficit supercommittee set to meet again today, liberals and labor are essentially at wits’ end over how to get it to at least think about jobs as it settles down to the work of cutting at least $1.5 trillion from the deficit. One measure of the urgency and dismay on the left: The profusion of actual proposals out there being floated that are designed to get the supercommittee to do this — and the near-certainty in liberal circles that none of them will ever be adopted.

As you know, Senator Jeff Merkley and labor leaders are urging the supercommittee to score individual proposals for their impact on jobs. But supercommittee Dems still have yet to weigh in on the idea, and I’m told by Democratic aides that it’s all but certain not to happen. Meanwhile, Russ Feingold is pushing a proposal to get the supercommittee to adopt the “Buffett Rule” raising taxes on millionaires. But that’s not likely to happen either. And finally, dozens of liberal groups and unions, including Move On, have submitted a letter to the supercommittee this morning, urging them to focus on job-creation as central to reducing the deficit.

As always, the fact that these sorts of ideas aren’t no-brainers for the supercommittee shows how out of whack the debate has become. By all accounts, Dems on the supercommittee do recognize the folly of marginalizing job creation from the conversation about the deficit. But no one in a key leadership position seems to want to publicly advocate for the supercommittee itself to pursue any of the ideas that might actually change this.

* Republicans love “green jobs”: Michael McAuliff has the scoop of the morning: The GOP-led House oversight committee will probe Obama’s “job-killing” green jobs program today — but at least ten Republicans on the committee have all sought Federal green energy money for projects in their own districts.

Many of them have touted the job-creation potential of such projects, including committee chair Darrell Issa.

* GOP leaders don’t command a majority of votes in the House: The stunning failure of the government funding bill in the House yesterday — which Dems opposed because it didn’t do enough in the way of disaster relief, and conservatives opposed because it didn’t cut spending deeply enough — reveals a fundamental legislative fact of life in the House:

The loss was the latest illustration of how Boehner and his lieutenants simply do not command 218 votes — the magic number for a victory in the House — on even such basic legislative matters as a temporary funding resolution to keep government agencies functioning.

As the linked article notes, now House GOP leaders need to decide whether they’re going to get this passed by moving to the left for Dem votes, or moving to the right for conservative ones.

* Dems giving up on winning back House? Multiple Dems fret that the lagging economy and Obama’s sagging numbers, particularly among independents, are going to cancel out the GOP’s Medicare plan as a political factor and will imperil their hopes of taking back the House. It’s a mark of the fact that no matter how great a political gift Paul Ryan’s Medicare plan was, the economy is likely to trump all.

* Obama campaign allies double down on tax hikes for rich: Priorities USA, the new group devoted to raising huge money to help with Obama’s reelection, is out with a new memo to reporters detailing all the polling that shows clear public support for tax hikes on the rich to close the deficit.

“After three years of relentless Republican efforts to justify tax breaks for the rich, Americans still maintain their fundamental belief that the wealthy should contribute more than they currently do,” the memo says — another sign that Obama camp views the tax fight as absolutely central to drawing a contrast between the parties en route to reelection.

By the way, the claim that solid majorities — including among independents and moderates — support high end tax hikes happens to be ... true.

* Will tonight’s GOP debate feature another “let him die” moment? With the 2012 GOP candidates set to debate tonight in Florida, the liberal group Protect Your Care is going up with a new ad in the Orlando market that features the applause greeting Wolf Blitzer’s question at the last debate about letting an uninsured man die. The ad asks: “Will Republican candidates listen to the extremes in their party on health care?”

Dems and the left are hoping to turn that eruption of applause into a seminal moment, and you can expect this footage to air again and again throughout 2012.

* Dems seek to highlight Romney’s flip flops: More pre-debate framing: The Dem group American Bridge is out with a new Web video highlighting Romney’s criticism of Fannie and Freddie — and subsequent reports that Romney profited from investments in both entities.

* What leading GOP figures are watching for tonight: Per Karl Rove: They want to see if Rick Perry can convincingly explain his previous support for devolving parts of Social Security to the states; and if Mitt Romney can convincingly explain why his criticism of “Obamacare” isn’t undermined by the fact that his health reform plan was a model for it.

* Can Perry explain Social Security positions? Leading Romney supporter Tim Pawlenty is out with a new Op ed, timed to tonight’s debate, that blasts Perry’s positions on Social Security as “untenable” and disqualifying in a general election — underscoring yet again how much Romney is betting on Perry’s inability to explain his positions tonight.

* But what if GOP primary voters agree with Perry? A new Quinnipiac poll underscores Romney’s problem: A majority of Florida Republican primary voters agrees that describing Social Security as a “Ponzi scheme” is fair, and an even bigger majority thinks Perry wants to fix the program.

* The GOP’s Rick Perry problem, in a nutshell: In that same poll, while GOPers are on board with Perry on Social Security, Florida voters overall overwhelmingly reject Perry’s description of the program, 58-33, and more think he wants to end it than think he wants to fix it.

* About those allegations of Perry patronage and cronyism: My conservative Post colleague Jennifer Rubin has a useful primer on all you need to know about them.

* And the choice in 2012, clarified: E.J. Dionne, commenting on the success of Obama’s rescue of the auto companies, deftly ties it to the larger question of whether government can and should act to rectify the unemployment crisis and the damage done by the individual hand of capitalism:

We did not have to accept the collapse of our domestic auto companies, and we do not have to accept that the Federal Reserve is powerless to give the economy the boost it needs. There is no reason to believe that the federal government is incapable of investing more in schools, roads and other public goods to build for the future and get more money into the hands of consumers now. We do not have to rely on giving rich people tax cuts and then confine ourselves to offering fervent prayers that they might invest some of the money in creating jobs.
We can seek to control our fate, or we can turn the invisible hand into a God who commands us to be helpless.

That’s pretty much what the 2012 elections will be all about.

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By  |  09:10 AM ET, 09/22/2011

 
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