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Right Turn
Posted at 07:45 AM ET, 07/19/2011

Morning Bits

A plan that no one but Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) will vote for. It would provide for “vastly deeper cuts across virtually every federal agency, including more than $2.6 trillion out of Medicare and Medicaid and about $1 trillion in new revenue from overhauling the tax code.” And they call “cut, cap and balance” unrealistic.

A threat that no one takes seriously. “The Obama administration says President Barack Obama would veto the ‘cut, cap and balance’ plan proposed by Tea Party-backed House Republicans if it lands on his desk. In a statement, the Office of Management and Budget says that setting arbitrary spending levels and a balanced budget amendment are not necessary in order to achieve financial stability.” It isn’t landing on his desk. And by the way — all spending caps are arbitrary. That’s the point.

No one is looking good these days. A new Gallup/USA Today poll: “Obama’s job-approval rating is 45%, a tepid standing but higher than congressional Democrats, at 33%, and congressional Republicans, at 28%.” Suddenly it’s looking smart to be in the Republican presidential primary.

No one wants to run behind Buddy Roemer (2%), but that is where both Tim Pawlenty (0 %) and Jon Huntsman (0%) are in the American Research Group’s South Carolina poll.

No one can figure out Obama’s direction on national security funding. “Obama administration officials and congressional Democrats have indicated that the White House would like to include significant defense cuts as part of an eventual deal, even beyond the $400 billion in cuts to security spending over the next twelve years that the president announced in April. . . . Yet during his press conference on Friday, Obama criticized the defense cuts proposed by the Bowles-Simpson deficit commission in December.” Increasingly it seems that the only principle this president has is the determination to be reelected. And really, if he is only for himself, what is he?

No one can spin this as positive news for the president. “The Misery Index [unemployment plus inflation] stands at 12.8, the highest in 28 years. Consumer sentiment slumped in July to the lowest level in more than two years, a report from Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan showed last week. The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index is lower than it was at the start of the year.”

No one doubts this is a smart move for the GOP. “They want more GOP candidates like Marco Rubio, Brian Sandoval and Susana Martinez. The Republican State Leadership Committee, a group chaired by veteran GOP strategist Ed Gillespie, is planning a concerted effort to recruit more Hispanics to run for office on the GOP ticket at the state level. With the Hispanic population continuing to boom, Gillespie said Republicans need to move fast to attract those voters to the party.” Unfortunately for conservatives, Marco Rubios don’t come along every day.

No one, I suspect, in Congress is going to speak up for funding for Hezbollah or the Hamas-Fatah unity government. The House Foreign Affairs Committee is preparing a bill to cut off aid to Lebanon “until the White House certifies to Congress that no member of Hezbollah or any other terrorist group serves in a policy position in the Lebanese government — a step that would currently be impossible, because Hezbollah is a major coalition partner in the current government.” It would also “condition the aid on the president certifying that the PA is doing several things, including that they have ‘halted all anti-Israel incitement in Palestinian Authority-controlled electronic and print media and in schools, mosques, and other institutions it controls, and is replacing these materials, including textbooks, with materials that promote tolerance, peace, and coexistence with Israel.’ ” So why are we currently funding these groups?

By  |  07:45 AM ET, 07/19/2011

Categories:  Morning Bits

 
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