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Posted at 08:31 AM ET, 10/21/2011

The Morning Plum

* GOP blocks another popular Obama jobs proposal: Last night, as expected, Senate Republicans successfully filibustered the $35 billion in state aid for hiring teachers and first responders. Every single Senate Republican — joined by two Dems — voted to block this portion of Obama’s jobs plan, even though it’s supported by large majorities of the American people, including independents, and even though the 0.5 percent millionaire surtax paying for it would only effect a tiny minority of their own constituents.

Okay, so Senate Republicans are determined to block pretty much every single popular provision in Obama’s jobs bill. All Obama and Dems can hope to salvage from the wreckage is political positioning for 2012. Their only hope is to use these votes to persuade voters that Republicans won’t support any Obama/Dem proposals that might lead to progress on unemployment and the economy.

Another way to put this: Dems have to hope the public figures out what’s actually happening.

A number of writers, such as James Fallows, have been pushing the media to tell this story clearly. Fallows wants journalists to stop enabling GOP filibusters with mealy-mouthed reporting that doesn’t explain that Senate dysfunction is “the result of deliberate and extremely effective Republican strategy.” This morning, a few news orgs got it right.

The Reuters headline reads as follows: “Republicans block popular piece of Obama jobs bill.”

The New York Times headline: “Obama’s Jobs Plan Is Blocked Again by Senate Republicans.”

Any news org that doesn’t tell the story this way is misleading its readers or viewers.

The grim truth for Obama and Dems is that Republicans benefit from blocking jobs policies that have broad public support. Yesterday’s Gallup poll found that despite Obama’s recent jobs push, for the first time a majority blames him for the economy. In other words, Obama will likely continue to pay the highest political price for our economic doldrums, no matter how determined Republicans are to block popular proposals the public supports. People don’t seem to care why Obama’s plans aren’t getting through. They just know that no one is acting to fix the economy, and that Obama runs the place. All Obama and Dems can hope for is that voters ultimately get the story right.

* It’s a 60-vote Senate, and that’s that: The weak AP story on the bill’s failure doesn’t even use the word “filibuster,” and even has this doozy:

The 50-50 vote fell well short of the 60 needed to pass.

Right, in order to pass a bill out of the U.S. Senate, you need 60 votes, and that’s all there is to it.

* Olympia Snowe isn’t so urgent about the economy after all: Steve Benen reminds us that Snowe chastised Tim Geither earlier this week on the economy by claiming: “Rome is burning.”

Needless to say, Snowe voted No last night, which will come as a great relief to the roughly 375 of her constituents who would have paid the 0.5 percent millionaire surtax. Relatedly, Jamison Foser asks: Is Snowe herself one of the 375 Maine millionaires she voted to protect?

Still, it bears repeating: The Senate Dems who voted No yesterday also put the narrow interests of a tiny minority of their constituents before the interest of thousands of others.

* The uneasy alliance between labor and Occupy Wall Street: Peter Wallsten has a nice look at what the alliance says about labor and its dissatifsaction with the national Democratic Party. The larger story here, one that bears watching, is whether labor leaders can succeed in tying the movement to a larger working class constituency.

* The conservative effort to divide OWS and blue collar whites: Harold Meyerson says what must not be said in polite company: The public supports the protests. Also note Meyerson’s accurate assessment of what the criticism of OWS is really about:

In the National Journal poll, 56 percent of non-college-educated whites back the demonstrators, though the right-wing media continually depict them trust fund babies gone wild.
In the strange case of Occupy Wall Street, none of the usual cultural signifiers by which we’ve been conditioned to hate one another seems to be working. Where have you gone, Archie Bunker? What gives?

Indeed. This is the big story here.

* The key to Obama’s reelection — the mountain west: Ron Brownstein has a fascinating look at the shifting demographics of the mountain west, explaining how Obama’s weakness in blue collar midwestern states increases the pressure on him to reassemble the coalition of minorities and suburban whites in order to defend his 2008 wins in Colorado, Nevada, and New Mexico.

Key footnote: Western Dems are betting on the radicalism of the GOP and its eventual nominee as their only hope for holding those states.

* The economic case for environmental regulation: The 2012 GOP candidates and Senate Republicans like to frame the argument over environmental regulation as a choice: Either you favor the environment, or the economy. But as Paul Krugman argues today, economic analysis finds that there’s actually an economic case for environmental regulation, because industries damaging the environment are “destroying value”:

Republicans, of course, have strong incentives to claim otherwise: the big value-destroying industries are concentrated in the energy and natural resources sector, which overwhelmingly donates to the G.O.P. But the reality is that more pollution wouldn’t solve our jobs problem. All it would do is make us poorer and sicker.

Also note Krugman’s coinage for the GOP: “The party of pollution.”

* Joe Biden takes a beating from the fact checkers: Glenn Kessler and Factcheck.org both pan his claim about rapes and murders.

* Dems boast of good fundraising: Just out from the DCCC: “Tonight, in the latest troubling development for House Republicans, the DCCC outraised the NRCC by nearly double for the month of September ($6.64 million to $3.80 million) and outraised for the third quarter ($14.22 million to $10.68 million).”

* Takedown of the day: Kevin Drum on another climate “skeptic” who has taken a pretty big hit.

* And the chart of the day: Brian Beutler has a nice chart illustrating that the 47 percent who conservatives depict as the free-riding half of the country actually do pay other taxes that constitute a massive chunk of Federal revenues. Not that this will do a thing to quiet that reprehensible right wing line...

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By  |  08:31 AM ET, 10/21/2011

 
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