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Posted at 09:00 AM ET, 11/16/2011

The Morning Plum

* How GOP benefits politically from blocking fixes to the economy: As I’ve ranted about here far too often, perhaps the single most important political dynamic of the moment is that Republicans may well continue benefitting politically from blocking Obama’s job creation policies — even ones that have broad public support. That’s because the highest price for the bad economy is likely to be paid by the guy who runs the place, even if the public is aware of GOP obstruction of his efforts to fix things.

Here’s another clear sign of this.

As Brian Beutler notes in an important post this morning, Republicans are trumpeting the news that Congressional Budget Office chief Doug Elmendorf has testified that unemployment will continue soaring next year. But here’s the rub: Elmendorf himself also implicitly said that Dem plans would create more jobs than Republican ones, and that expected high unemployment rates can be blamed on continued Republican opposition to Obama’s jobs policies.

Elmendorf — while careful not to make his comments partisan — said that policies that would have the largest impact on employment are ones “targeted toward people who would be most likely to spend the additional income,” such as increasing aid to the unemployed, which Republicans oppose. By contrast, Elmendorf said that policies like cutting business income taxes and reducing tax rates on repatriated corporate profits — which Republicans support — would do little to ease unemployment. You can view this in chart form right here.

Yet Republicans are promoting Elmendorf’s comments about continued unemployment as proof that Obama continues to fail on the economy. This, even though the conclusion that’s easily drawn from his testimony is that Dem plans would create more jobs, and that the fixes Republicans oppose would make things better. I don’t know how much clearer the dynamic can be made than this.

* White House attempts delicate balancing act on Occupy evictions: White House press secretary Jay Carney carefully avoided taking a position on the evictions from Zuccotti Park, saying municipalities need to make these decisions themselves, and calling for the need to get the balance right between free speech and public safety.

Key footnote: Carney did lean towards giving support to the view that public safety was a “concern” in this case, which suggests a subtle distancing from the protesters.

* New York Times stands by the right to protest: Good for the New York Times editorial board for calling on Mayor Bloomberg to find a way to safeguard the protesters’ right to continue spotlighting inequality right in the heart of the financial district, even in the wake of the evictions.

* Occupy Wall Street headline of the day: This Alex Pareene headline really captures what this is all about:

Daily News cheers Occupy Wall Street raid, until Daily News reporter is arrested

History will record that the New York Times’s handling of this whole affair was admirable, while that of New York’s tabloids was just reprehensible.

* White House braces for supercommittee failure: Obama advisers are privately skeptical that the supercommittee will reach a deficit deal by the November 23rd deadline. What to watch for: Expect a good deal of blame to be directed at Obama for not taking a more hands-on role in pushing the supercommittee towards compromise.

In reality, though, a higher profile Obama role would probably make a deal less likely, by making it politically harder for supercommittee Republicans to reach a compromise.

* GOP would get blamed for supercommittee failure: A new CNN poll finds that Americans would blame Republicans more than Dems if the supercommittee blows its deadline, 42-32. Independents would blame Republicans by 40-24.

What CNN didn’t poll: Whether Americans will give a rats behind if the supercommittee does go bust. No matter what we keep hearing, Americans care about jobs, not the deficit.

* Dems have the upper hand in supercommittee negotiations: Harry Reid is vowing to block any GOP efforts to prevent “sequestration” from triggering defense cuts, and Alexander Bolton explains why Dems now have the upper hand:

That dynamic has Democrats saying they have the upper hand in the negotiations, with some liberals privately rooting for sequestration cuts to be triggered. Unless Republicans cave on tax increases, there is little reason for Democrats to strike a deal because sequestration does not call for structural reforms to Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security.

Unlike during the debt ceiling debacle, Dems have less of an incentive to cave in order to avert failure, since the consequences would not be nearly as catastrophic.

* GOP divided over their big “concession” to Dems: Politico reports on a key reason the supercommittee might fail: Some Republicans can’t even bring themselves to accept any new revenues via closing loopholes and ending deductions in exchange for tax cuts on the rich.

Another way to say this is that some Republicans view any meaningful concessions at all in the direction of Dems as a nonstarter.

* Brace yourself for bogus false equivalences about supercommittee failure: Steve Benen prepares us for the inevitable:

When this panel fails next week, major news organizations will tell the public that “both sides” chose not to reach an agreement. Those reports will be wrong.

Yup. You see, we must not explain clearly to news consumers what’s actually going on here, because that would constitute “taking sides.”

* Newt could still be GOP nominee: Ed Morrissey makes the couservative case for why Newt Gingrich actually might succeed in uniting the GOP’s Tea Party wing around himself as the alternative to Mitt Romney: He can be trusted to take the fight to Barack Obama. Hear, hear!

* Gingrich boomlet continues: It really is time to take Gingrich seriously. Really! Here’s Ross Douthat, explaining why Gingrich’s delusions of world-historical grandeur might make him attractive to GOP primary voters:

For conservative primary voters who don’t want to nominate a mere technocrat for what they consider an era-defining election, Gingrich’s willingness to go “up a couple of levels” and frame 2012 in Manichaean terms is a selling point, not a liability. And after the implosion of so many alternatives, his Churchillian posturing might be all the reason they need to embrace him as the anti-Romney, even if doing so requires overlooking his various ideological deviations.

I’d only add that Romney’s “ideological deviations” are pretty severe as well, another reason why Newt seems to be getting a serious second look. Newtmentum!!!!

* But Newt profited from Freddie Mac: Whatever Newtmentum is building right now could be blunted by this Bloomberg revelation that Newt may have earned as much as $1.8 million in consulting for Freddie Mac.

* And the Scott Walker recall proceeds apace: I’m skeptical that it will happen, but Sean Sullivan outlines why it’s not out of the realm of possiblity that Scott Walker will ultimately get recalled.

What else is going on?

By  |  09:00 AM ET, 11/16/2011

 
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