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Right Turn
Posted at 07:45 AM ET, 03/07/2012

Morning Bits

This was supposed to be an easy win for the Dems. “After a huge rush of optimism that Elizabeth Warren’s candidacy would end Scott Brown’s hold on his U.S. Senate seat, Democratic insiders and activists are awakening to a new political reality, driven by a series of recent polls and Brown’s success these past few months in crafting an independent bipartisan image. . . . A new poll released over the weekend by the Western New England University Polling Institute in partnership with The Republican newspaper of Springfield found Brown leading Warren, his top Democratic challenger, 49 to 41 percent. That closely reflects several other surveys taken in the last month that also show Brown with a lead.”

This was also supposed to be a pickup for Democrats after Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) announced her retirement. “Popular former independent Gov. Angus King shook things up in the scramble for the state’s open seat in the U.S. Senate on Monday night by announcing a bid to succeed Republican Olympia Snowe, bringing to the race a strong alternative to Republicans and Democrats criticized by Snowe for causing partisan gridlock.”

President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu were supposed to be on the same page. “Less than a day after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared that diplomacy and economic sanctions have failed to stop Iran’s march toward nuclear weapons, President Barack Obama doubled down on his belief that there is still time to work through diplomatic channels.”

He was supposed to come up with something credible on housing. “Once again, the president has chosen a politically driven policy of targeted junk for favored constituencies over a clear, pro-growth approach to the problem of the day. The president claims today’s tweaks are just pieces of a larger housing recovery strategy, but the entire strategy of 22 separate initiatives appears to be riddled with more of the same: piecemeal goodies as he panders his way toward the November election. As a recovery strategy, today’s proposal is laughable. If former President Clinton used to be accused of playing small ball, this is playing BB ball.”

Pols are supposed to “distance” themselves from hateful language, right? “President Obama explained that he was thinking of his daughters when he called Sandra Fluke after Rush Limbaugh insulted her, but Sarah Palin countered that he should show respect for ‘everyone’s daughters’ by returning Bill Maher’s political contributions. . . . Palin was apparently alluding to Bill Maher when she mentioned the ‘rabid misogynist.’ Maher has committed $1 million to Obama’s super PAC, and reportedly directed several gender-specific slurs at Palin and other conservative women.”

You are not alone if you thought we were supposed to be do this a long time ago. “Coming soon from the Congress that brought you the sanctions against the Central Bank of Iran: new legislation to sanction every single Iranian bank. Members of both the House and Senate from both parties are moving forward soon with legislation that would expand financial sanctions against Iran to include all Iranian financial institutions — whether government-affiliated, private, inside Iran, or controlled abroad. According to multiple congressional aides who previewed the legislation for The Cable, this would effectively cut off every Iranian financial institution from the international community — subjecting any bank that conducts transactions with an Iranian bank or holds money for an Iranian bank to risk losing its own access to the U.S. market.”

Ramesh Ponnuru make a good case that a race that Democrats say is supposed to be a cakewalk isn’t going to be so simple. “Start with Obama’s poll numbers, which are mediocre. His job-approval rating has been trending upward since October, but is still below 50 percent. . . . And even an improving economy will not be, by historical standards, a strong one. No incumbent has won re-election with unemployment of more than 7.2 percent since Franklin Roosevelt. Unemployment has a surprisingly weak correlation with election outcomes — but the data set doesn’t include many examples of elections with joblessness in today’s range. Confident judgments about how the economy will do, and how it will affect the election, shouldn’t be trusted.” Read the whole thing.

By  |  07:45 AM ET, 03/07/2012

Categories:  Morning Bits

 
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