Nov 12 2012

Punting the Pundits

“Punting the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.

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Paul Krugman: Hawks and Hypocrites

Back in 2010, self-styled deficit hawks – better described as deficit scolds – took over much of our political discourse. At a time of mass unemployment and record-low borrowing costs, a time when economic theory said we needed more, not less, deficit spending, the scolds convinced most of our political class that deficits rather than jobs should be our top economic priority. And now that the election is over, they’re trying to pick up where they left off.

They should be told to go away.

It’s not just the fact that the deficit scolds have been wrong about everything so far. Recent events have also demonstrated clearly what was already apparent to careful observers: the deficit-scold movement was never really about the deficit. Instead, it was about using deficit fears to shred the social safety net. And letting that happen wouldn’t just be bad policy; it would be a betrayal of the Americans who just re-elected a health-reformer president and voted in some of the most progressive senators ever.

Maureen Dowd: Romney Is President

IT makes sense that Mitt Romney and his advisers are still gobsmacked by the fact that they’re not commandeering the West Wing.

(Though, as “The Daily Show” correspondent John Oliver jested, the White House might have been one of the smaller houses Romney ever lived in.)

Team Romney has every reason to be shellshocked. Its candidate, after all, resoundingly won the election of the country he was wooing.

Mitt Romney is the president of white male America.

Glenn Greenwald: Petraeus Scandal is Reported with Compelled Veneration of All Things Military

The reverence for the former CIA Director is part of a wider religious-like worship of the national security state.

A prime rule of US political culture is that nothing rivets, animates or delights the political media like a sex scandal. From Bill Clinton, Gary Hart, and Eliot Spitzer to John Edwards, Larry Craig and David Vitter, their titillation and joy is palpable as they revel in every last arousing detail. This giddy package is delivered draped in a sanctimonious wrapping: their excitement at reporting on these scandals is matched only by their self-righteous condemnations of the moral failings of the responsible person.

All of these behaviors have long been constant, inevitable features of every political sex scandal – until yesterday. Now, none of these sentiments is permitted because the newest salacious scandal features at its center Gen. David Petraeus, who resigned yesterday as CIA Director, citing an extramarital affair.

Dana Milbank: Republican leader Boehner may be ready to bargain

After Mitt Romney’s defeat on Tuesday, John Boehner is the undisputed leader of the Republican Party.

Pity him. [..]

Boehner’s first instinct on Tuesday night was to side with his House firebrands. “While others chose inaction,” he said at a Republican National Committee event, “we offered solutions.” Americans, he said, “responded by renewing our House Republican majority. With this vote, the American people have also made clear that there’s no mandate for raising tax rates.”

After sleeping on it, Boehner appeared at the Capitol on Wednesday and offered a dramatically different message: He proposed, albeit in a noncommittal way, putting tax increases on the table. [..]

Boehner chose to make his post-election speech in the Capitol’s Rayburn room, named for Sam Rayburn, the late House speaker who is credited with saying: “Any jackass can kick down a barn. It takes a carpenter to build one.”

Boehner sounds as though he’s ready to pick up hammer and nail. But will his fellow Republicans stop kicking?

Robert Kuttner: Let’s Not Make a Deal

President Obama gave a pretty good speech on Friday about the economy and the budget. In his most quoted line, the president said, “I am not going to ask students and seniors and middle-class families to pay down the entire deficit while people like me, making over $250,000, aren’t asked to pay a dime more in taxes.” [..]

Obama, evidently, is willing to play hardball to compel the Republicans to allow tax rates on the top two percent to revert to something like the Clinton era top rate of 39.5 percent but spare the bottom 98 percent any tax increases. As Obama put it, “On Tuesday night, we found out that the majority of Americans agree with my approach.”

But that was about the only good thing in Obama’s speech, or his posture towards the Republicans and the budget. Obama still believes that the economy needs budget cuts of $4 trillion over the next decade.

It doesn’t. If anything, it needs spending increases.

Thom Hartmann and Sam Sacks: Harry Reid: Fix the Filibuster Now!

President Obama won and the Democrats increased their majority in the Senate – and moved it in a far more progressive direction. For now, the Supreme Court is safe from radical right-wing ideology.

But to guarantee its safety for future generations, Harry Reid must take decisive and historic action on day one of the new Senate term. He must end or radically reform the filibuster.

The filibuster is mentioned nowhere in the Constitution – it’s something, in its modern form, the Founders knew nothing about. It requires 60 votes in a 100-vote Senate to end debate and move on to a vote – and Republicans have used it over 370 times during Harry Reid’s tenure. For comparison, Lyndon Johnson was Senate majority leader for the same period of time as Reid, in an incredibly turbulent time, and only had to deal with one, single Republican filibuster.