Happy Hour Roundup

April 10, 2013

Do you all know Fannee Doolee? Fannie Doolee loves apples, but she hates fruit; she loves volleyball and soccer, but hates sports; she loves dinner, but hates meals (if you need to, click through for the solution). Anyway — I sometimes think that the Republican Party right now is some elaborate Fannee Doolee game, except I can’t figure out the code. They love sequestration, but they hate cuts to cancer care, or airports or even White House tours; they demand entitlement cuts, but they hate cuts to Medicare and Social Security.

Meanwhile, lots of good stuff today:

1. I’ve been as focused on the Social Security cuts as anyone, but there’s a lot more to the budget than that. More than chained CPI I: Annie Lowrey on the Obama budget’s focus on inequality.

2. More than chained CPI II: “Winners and losers in the White House budget,” from Brad Plumer.

3. More than chained CPI III: Matt Yglesias describes the basic differences between the White House budget and the House Republican budget.

4. Good update on the NRA and the background check compromise from Sahil Kapur:

“We are opposed to Manchin-Toomey,” NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam clarified in an email to TPM. He didn’t respond to a several follow-ups about whether voting for the amendment will damage a senator’s NRA vote score or will subject them to campaign attacks.

Interesting. If the NRA doesn’t want to hit these Senators, does it suggest, perhaps, that other Members of Congress have less to fear than the NRA’s reputation might suggest?

5. The opposite of FDR’s court-packing: Chuck Grassley leads Republicans who want to reduce the size of the DC Circuit appeals court in order to keep the GOP majority. Ian Millhiser explains.

6. Important reminder from Tim Fernholz: we don’t actually know what the deficit will be five years from now, let alone twenty or thirty years from now. It’s just educated guesses.

7. Kate Sheppard on advice to Republicans about how to avoid alienating women.

8. Did you know that Vermont has a single-payer health care system? Aaron Carroll updates on how it’s working out.

9. Very smart analysis by Sarah Binder on the latest Hastert Rule violation. It was on an obscure minor bill, but it tells us more about what’s happening in the House — and what might happen if the Senate does pass gun and immigration bills that conservatives don’t like.

10. Back to chained CPI: as Brett LoGiurato reports, it’s not as if liberals didn’t see this coming.

11. While Andrew Sprung looks at how chained CPI has affected the reception for other key pieces of the budget.

12. How will the press cover all this going forward? Chuck Todd: “Will be interesting to see if many Republicans who were pressuring POTUS to do CPI denounce the NRCC head’s comments.”

13. But Steve Benen argues: the even more important question might be whether the press will notice that the Republican Party stands alone as the obstacle to a grand bargain.

14. The Senate did confirm one of Barack Obama’s cabinet nominees today — but what about all of those positions for which Obama still hasn’t picked anyone?

15. And Ed Kilgore argues (with me) over what’s wrong with the Republican Party. Worth reading! But I disagree. For example, a party can have quite extreme views but still be willing to compromise in order to get their best possible policies. We need something more, it seems to me, to explain what Republicans are up to.

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Greg Sargent | April 10, 2013