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Right Turn
Posted at 07:45 AM ET, 04/15/2012

Morning Bits

If you play with fire, you’ll get burned. “[H]aving used [Rush] Limbaugh (who has no party position or role) as a stick to beat Republicans, Democrats were forced to own [Hilary] Rosen, who is at the apex of Democratic politics in Washington. . . . The rapid and comprehensive disavowals of Rosen underlined the fact that this was not a fight the Democrats wanted to have. They realized that Ann Romney is extremely popular and a major asset to the presumptive Republican nominee. And most Americans, Right or Left, instinctively respect a woman who raises five sons and also survives Multiple Sclerosis and breast cancer.”

All the world’s a stage — his — as far as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is concerned. Robert Costa on a town hall: “Whip-smart, articulate, and pleasantly pugnacious, Christie has the aura of a bona fide national sensation. The raucous applause he receives in Middlesex County is the same kind of reception that the governor receives in Orange County, the Rust Belt, and the Deep South. Republicans, from tea-party activists to national-committee grandees, can’t get enough. Team Romney, which has used Christie’s talents on the trail, surely notices. Yet at home, among his grizzled and outspoken constituents, the embrace of Christie is warmer and more intense than it is elsewhere. Speaking with the attendees, from members of the carpenters’ union and GOP state legislators to working-class parents, I don’t hear about Christie as just a future president, but as ‘the next Ronald Reagan.’”

A wild goose chase. Why Iran talks are a disaster before they’ve even begun. “1.) One side of the talks [ours] is at loggerheads over the purpose of the talks. 2.) Iran is in the driver’s seat in these negotiations. 3.) The United States is threatening Iran with Israeli military action. Any American action appears to be off the table. 4.) Because of irresolution among the ‘good guys,’ because Iran smells desperation in Washington, a deal is almost impossible, and a military strike by Israel is all the more likely.”

The well runs dry, it seems. Maybe spending tens of millions to unseat Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker isn’t such a smart idea after all. “Big labor is off to a slow start stockpiling cash. The AFL-CIO’s super PAC raised just $2.2 million in the first three months of this year, according to a campaign finance report released Friday. That’s $1.5 million less than the Workers Voice super PAC brought in during the last quarter of 2011.” You don’t suppose labor bosses are unenthusiastic about President Obama, do you?

The rich get richer. Especially among Hollywood moguls. Maybe we should call it the Moonves rule. “CBS Corp. said late Friday that president and CEO Leslie Moonves received higher compensation worth $69.9 million last year, driven by option awards. The total pay package, details of which were disclosed in a regulatory filing, was up 21 percent from the $57.7 million the media mogul had made in 2010 and makes him the highest-paid Hollywood CEO so far this reporting season.”

The chickens come home to roost. All that “free” money is causing some inflation. “Consumer prices rose 2.7% in March from a year ago, presenting a quandary for Federal Reserve officials who say their mission is to keep the inflation rate lower. The Fed has been predicting since the 2008 crisis that immense economic slack—in the form of unemployed workers, vacant homes and idle factories— would hold inflation down because it would make it more difficult for firms to raise prices or workers to win wage increases. But inflation has repeatedly moved above the Fed’s expectations during the recovery.” We better get the Misery Index out of mothballs.

The best defense is a good offense. Obama has neither, Jay Cost says. “If the 2012 election is framed on ‘are you better off than you were four years ago?,’ then [Obama] is going to lose. His record on the economy, the deficit, energy policy, and health care are all very unpopular. So, Obama’s objective is to get the country to think about other things. In particular, he has of late employed a series of gimmicks to induce the country to conceive of Mitt Romney in the above terms. The whole ‘war on women’ is exactly along those lines, as is the Buffett Rule. Both speak to the core strategy – Romney is a conservative radical and tool of big business who wants to deprive women of birth control and help only the rich get richer.” Read the whole thing.

You can’t fool all of the people all of the time. But the Obama campaign is trying. “The case for the Buffett tax keeps eroding. When President Obama announced the idea, he said it would help ‘stabilize our debt and deficits over the next decade.’ Then came the inconvenient revelation that the new 30% millionaire’s tax would raise only $46.7 billion over 10 years, and would leave about 99.5% of the deficit intact in 2013. It was a far cry from ‘stabilizing the debt.’ Now we learn that the Buffett tax the Senate is expected to vote on early next week will make the deficit worse. That’s because both Mr. Obama and Senate Democrats have made it clear that their new ‘fairness’ tax is to offset the revenue loss from another provision related to the Alternative Minimum Tax.”

By  |  07:45 AM ET, 04/15/2012

Categories:  Morning Bits

 
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