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Right Turn
Posted at 07:45 AM ET, 03/29/2011

Morning Bits

Quite a character reference. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez expressed support for Syria’s president on Saturday, calling him a “humanist” and a “brother” facing a wave of violent protests backed by the United States and its allies. Chavez’s support for President Bashar al-Assad follows his defense of Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi, who is fighting rebels backed by international airstrikes.

Quite a run for the Democrats — first turning off independent voters with Obamacare and now this: “Despite the headline, ‘Neither Democrats or GOP have edge in budget battle,’ a recent CNN poll contains some good news for Republicans. According to the poll, 46 percent of Americans say they favor President Obama’s ‘approach’ to the budget negotiations (detached ambivalence?), while 45 percent prefer congressional Republicans’ approach. However, the GOP has a significant edge among independents, who prefer the Republican approach by a margin of 49 to 34 percent.”

Quite a shift from the Democrats’ “not one penny to cut” stance. “Senate Democrats and the White House on Monday were working to finalize a new counteroffer to the GOP on 2011 spending cuts. The counteroffer would cut an additional $20 billion from 2011 spending on top of the $10 billion already cut by two short-term continuing resolutions enacted this month, sources close to the talks said.”

Quite an analogy by Richard Cohen for the opponents of selective humanitarian intervention.

Quite a revealing moment. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s serious spending cuts and no-new taxes budget freak out Mayor Michael Bloomberg: “In defiant terms, Mr. Bloomberg said the cuts proposed by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and legislative leaders would disproportionately fall on the city, despite the fact that it served as an economic catalyst for the rest of the state. ‘We are the jewel of the financial crown, if you will, in New York State,’ Mr. Bloomberg said after a City Hall news conference. ‘We’re the one that’s generating the money.’ Mr. Cuomo on Sunday announced a $132.5 billion budget that included steep cuts to health care and education but that imposed no major new taxes.” By the way, has anyone noticed that Cuomo and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) are on the same page? Maybe one — or both! — should run for president.

Quite a problem for Mitt Romney in Iowa: Christian conservatives still don’t like him very much.

Quite a compelling argument for incremental continuing resolutions. Keith Hennessey suggests that “as April 8th approaches House Republicans would pass another three week CR, one which cuts $2.1 B in its first week, $2.2 B in its second week, and $2.3 B in its third week. If another CR was needed after that, it would begin with $2.4 B of savings, and so on until the end of the fiscal year. Such a tiny weekly increment would be nearly impossible for Democrats to reject. And yet if continued through the end of this fiscal year, $4.5 B of discretionary spending would be cut in the final week, that of September 23rd. This strategy would result in an additional $82.5 B of spending cuts between April 8th and September 30th, and it poses zero additional risk for Congressional Republicans. They would maintain the high ground on spending cuts and remain on the offensive for the next six months.”

Quite a complication for Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R), should he run for president. Phil Klein reports: Democrats in Indiana’s state House have returned, lured back by a series of concessions from Republicans. Among them, the Associated Press reports, ‘Republicans originally envisioned the largest voucher program in the nation, but later agreed to cap the program at 7,500 students in the first year and 15,000 in the second year.’ Had Daniels been able to pass the more sweeping school choice reform, it may have helped to mitigate the frustration of conservatives over his decision to oppose ‘right-to-work’ legislation in the current session. This compromise makes that task harder should he decide to seek the GOP nomination.

By  |  07:45 AM ET, 03/29/2011

Categories:  Morning Bits

 
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