Cards on the table, Mr. President. Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio): “If the President really wants to avoid sending the economy over the fiscal cliff, he has done nothing to demonstrate it. Instead, he has offered a plan that could not pass either house of Congress – not the House of Representatives and not the Democratic-controlled Senate. . . . With our latest offer we have demonstrated there is a middle ground solution that can cut spending and bring in revenue without hurting American small businesses. The President now has an obligation to respond with a proposal that does the same and can pass both chambers of Congress. We’re ready and eager to talk with the president about such a proposal.”
Should federal taxpayers ante up? “After meeting with White House officials and Congressional leaders in D.C. today, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said [New Jersey] Gov. Chris Christie will make a similar trip Thursday to push for federal funding of Hurricane Sandy disaster relief. . . . While Cuomo was speaking to reporters, Christie’s office released two statements. In the first, Christie asked that the federal government reimburse 100 percent of costs related to Sandy recovery, beyond the usual 75 percent or the 90 percent President Obama can authorize. The second was a joint statement with Cuomo, pledging to work together to secure money to rebuild.”
Think the White House is bluffing? Me too. “The White House is denying reports in the Israeli media that the United States asked European countries to protest a new round of settlement construction by Israel.” Maybe not “ask” but wonder aloud, perhaps.
He folds. “NBC sportscaster Bob Costas on Tuesday said the ‘mistake’ with his halftime gun control speech was that delivering it during his short 90-second spot “left it open to too much misinterpretation.” The mistake was in assuming the country cares about his views on politics.
I think he has the straight scoop. “The White House may have found a workable formula for pressuring and undermining the government of Israel: the United States engages in polite diplomatic criticism and then privately urges the Europeans to lower the boom. While Israelis do not care too much about Europeans moral judgments, the EU is an important market for them and European sanctions of any kind would be harmful to Israel. The sense that the Netanyahu coalition can’t get along with Europe or the United States may hurt Netanyahu with Israeli voters — which is perhaps the precise objective of this entire effort. ” Read the whole thing.
He has the ace up his sleeve. “Phase II of Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi’s declaration of sweeping dictatorial powers was completed on Thursday night. That is when the ‘constituent assembly’ hastily completed a draft constitution that would enshrine sharia principles as fundamental law. Morsi grabbed the reins with a shrewd caveat: His dictatorship would end once the draft constitution was approved by Egyptians in a national referendum — which is to say, once the dictatorship had served its purpose.”
Overplaying his hand once again. “After the Republicans’ counteroffer on the fiscal cliff today, ABC’s Jake Tapper tweeted a response from a senior White House official: ‘if GOP doesn’t agree to higher rates for top 2%, we’ll go over the cliff and the American people will hold them responsible.’ This is a hugely irresponsible threat from President Barack Obama’s administration.” Well, yeah.