Clever. “Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Wednesday offered an amendment to force a vote on President Obama’s deficit-reduction plan, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) was having none of it.” As I’ve said before, the Senate Democrats are the weak link for the White House.


Dumb. He doesn’t need to pick fights. “Virginia Attorney General and presumptive GOP gubernatorial nominee Ken Cuccinelli sent a curt note this week to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) regarding how the party should nominate candidates – an issue that has become a stand-in for the broader fight in the state between establishment and conservative Republicans.”

Smart. Syrian rebels control the border crossings and have a new passport stamp. ” It reads ‘New Syria,’ according to journalist Jenan Moussa, who has been reporting from the city of Aleppo. The passport stamp is one of the trappings of a state, and there are signs that the tide is beginning to turn against Syrian president Bashar al-Assad; weapons are streaming in from abroad to the rebel fighters, and the government troops appear to be weakening.”

Silly Californians. They brought this on themselves, as did other deep-blue, high-tax states. “Whether it’s because we end up going over the fiscal cliff or because Republicans agree to President Obama’s plan of not extending the Bush tax cuts on America’s wealthiest earners, the possibility of an effective tax hike means that higher-income Californians may be in for a whopping aggregate marginal tax rate. The super-liberal state already succeeded in approving their own rate hike with Proposition 30 in the November election, and combined with the potential federal raises, they could be looking at a top bracket with a marginal income tax rate of just under 52 percent.” Why would anyone stay? And whose going to pay for all that government if rich people decamp to Arizona?

Sensible in theory. “Immigration can be addressed ‘comprehensively, but not in a comprehensive bill,’ said [Sen. Marco] , Rubio who suggested that it be addressed through a ‘comprehensive package of bills’ instead. ‘Portions of immigration reform can be dealt with quicker than others,” he said, listing issues such as guest worker programs, border security, e-Verify and an alternative to DREAM Act. By addressing these issues, Congress could restore the public’s faith in its intentions to stop illegal immigration, enabling the U.S. to celebrate legal immigration once again.'” However, unless you deal wth the 12 million undocumented, the Democrats aren’t moving on anything else, and frankly, the GOP shouldn’t drag this out either.

Inane politics of destruction. “The only issue on the cliff negotiation table held true by every serious person is that the entitlement crisis is going to crush the country. But nothing is dearer to this president than higher taxes on people defined by him as the wealthiest. If the president’s DNA prevents him from a compromise that also includes a sequester-strength commitment to disarming the entitlement bombs, much less discretionary spending, take the sequester.” Then again it might be sheer incompetence. “The main reason there isn’t, and may never be, a solution on the fiscal cliff is that Barack Obama doesn’t know how to do a political compromise. Where in his career did Barack Obama ever learn the art of the political deal? Nowhere.”

Brilliant. “A cap on tax breaks designed by a former Reagan adviser is drawing attention after House Speaker John Boehner floated it as an option this week. The White House and Republican leaders have proposed limiting tax breaks to raise tax revenue under a long-term deficit-reduction deal. GOP leaders want to limit deductions instead of raising individual income-tax rates. President Barack Obama wants to do both. Harvard University economics professor Martin Feldstein, who was chairman of Ronald Reagan’s Council of Economic Advisers, has devised a plan that he says could raise considerable revenue for the government.” What say you, Mr. President?

Bumbling foreign policy execution, in this case yanking all troops out of Iraq, has consequences. Now Kurds and Arabs are fighting each other. “Prior to December 2011, such a dispute would have been mediated by U.S. troops positioned on both sides of the disputed Green Line dividing Kurdish territory from Iraq proper. American troops were even running joint patrols with the Iraqi army and the peshmerga in a confidence-building measure. But now the American buffer has been removed and tensions are predictably flaring.”

Wily politics. Majority leader Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) taunts Democrats: ““We can meet everyone’s goals of spurring economic growth and making progress on immigration reform by passing the STEM Jobs Act. Instead, Senate Democrats have decided to play politics, rather than taking up the House bill which members of both parties supported last week. Our common sense solution allocates visas to the American-educated, foreign-born STEM graduates who have the greatest potential to help grow our economy, and helps reunite immigrant families stuck on government waiting lists. . .The President has said he supports STEM visa reform. Senate Democrats should get behind the House bill to drive our economy and give more immigrants greater opportunities in America.” Make ’em pay a price.