Thomas Jefferson Street

February 2011


The Big Myth in Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's Union-Busting Crusade

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The Battle of Madison, in addition to being about Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s desire to cripple his state’s public sector unions, is also at least ostensibly about budgetary matters. Walker wants to get those nasty teachers and other government workers to foot more of the bill for their ...

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TAGS:
state budgets
deficit and national debt
politics
Wisconsin
New York Times
media

Does Obama's Gay Marriage Reversal Set a Dangerous Precedent?

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I shudder to say this, but Newt Gingrich might have a point about the Obama administration’s announcement this week that it will no longer defend a portion of the Defense of Marriage Act. Granted that the law is offensive; what kind of precedent is Obama setting with this move?

[ See a round-up ...

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TAGS:
Republican Party
LGBT rights
Holder, Eric
Obama administration
Obama, Barack
Bush, George W.
politics
health care reform
health care
Palin, Sarah
Gingrich, Newt

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker Is Right in Being Wrong

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A friend of mine made a good point today: Let’s retire, or at least put a temporary moratorium on, phrases like ram through and cramming down the throat in relation to legislative acts. These phrases unfair imply illegitimacy in the process. The fact of the matter is that what’s going on in ...

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TAGS:
Wisconsin
politics
labor
unions
2010 Congressional elections
Congress
Republican Party
health care
health care reform
Democratic Party
deficit and national debt

Obama and Democrats Should Stand Up to GOP, Big Business

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In the classic movie Cool Hand Luke, the prison warden, played by the great character actor Strother Martin, always said the same thing to the inmate, Paul Newman, after he misbehaved and before he got beaten: “What we've got here is failure to communicate.”

What we have in Washington now is a

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TAGS:
Democratic Party
Republican Party
Congress
deficit and national debt
Obama, Barack
2010 Congressional elections
LGBT rights
economy
unemployment
politics
Truman, Harry S

Robert Gates Says Healthcare Costs Hurt Defense Budget

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Secretary of Defense Robert Gates is not afraid to say it: “Healthcare costs are eating the Defense Department alive.”

But many in Congress are ignoring the elephant in the room. No politician, after all, wants any part of “going after” our veterans. The amount of sacrifice, especially during two ...

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TAGS:
Gates, Robert
health care
veterans
national security terrorism and the military
health care reform

Wisconsin Senate Democrats Offer a Profile in Cowardice

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There should be a committee whose job it is to hand out awards recognizing political courage and cowardice in the face of difficult times. If one did exist, it would no doubt award the 2011 “Yellow Feather” to the Democrats in the Wisconsin state senate who, confronted with legislation that would ...

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TAGS:
unions
politics
Congress
2010 Congressional elections
Democratic Party
Republican Party
Wisconsin

Palin, Limbaugh, and Bachmann's Weird Attacks on Michelle Obama

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For the people who still can't stand the fact that someone with a darker hue and a non-Anglo name is in the White House, it must be frustrating, looking for something to denigrate the woman who married him. And yet, they persist.

What can be said about Michelle Obama? That she's a Harvard-educated ...

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TAGS:
Obama, Michelle
working women
politics
White House
Republican Party
Palin, Sarah
Bachmann, Michele
Limbaugh, Rush

Poll: Voters Oppose Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker in Union Standoff

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Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has become an instant conservative darling and national figure with his standoff against his state’s public worker unions. But a new poll suggests his no-compromise, union-busting approach is not playing well in the historically progressive state.

Walker is pushing a bill ...

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TAGS:
Wisconsin
AFL-CIO
unions
state budgets
deficit and national debt
Democratic Party
Republican Party
politics
polls
Greenberg, Stan

Bachmann, 'All In' for 2012, Wants Glenn Beck to Fix the Deficit

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Sounding an awful lot like a presidential candidate (“I’m in”), Minnesota GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann came up with a novel solution for the budget crisis: Let Glenn Beck figure it out.

It was one highlight in what the Minnesota Independent (h/t Washington Monthly) describes as “one of her ...

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TAGS:
national security terrorism and the military
Boehner, John
Obama, Michelle
Washington Post
federal taxes
deficit and national debt
Beck, Glenn
Republican Party
politics
Congress
2012 presidential election
Bachmann, Michele

The Republicans' Fundamentalist Approach to Spending and Jobs

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We all know the aphorism that “it’s the economy, stupid.” I don’t think anyone would argue with that notion--that the biggest thing driving voters (especially at a time like this) is the state of the economy. Unfortunately the economy varies in the eye of the beholder.

Washington Monthly’s

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TAGS:
Boehner, John
Ryan, Paul
Van Hollen, Chris
Democratic Party
Republican Party
politics
deficit and national debt
federal taxes
unemployment
economy
White House
2010 Congressional elections
Congress
House of Representatives
federal budget

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's Newt Gingrich Moment

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When Scott Walker first thought about running for governor of Wisconsin in 2005, I was working for then-Gov. Jim Doyle. Walker spent several months riding around on his motorcycle trying to explain how his experience guiding Milwaukee County to the brink of fiscal collapse (he was county executive)

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TAGS:
Wisconsin
Gingrich, Newt
Congress
White House
Republican Party
Democratic Party
Clinton, Bill
Reagan, Ronald
deficit and national debt
politics
labor

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker Unfairly Demonizes Teachers

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Madison, the state capital of Wisconsin, is also known as "Mad City"--not for nothing this week. My hometown's uprising on the shores of Lake Monona, in and around the state capitol, made the front page of the New York Times in the nation's most riveting political drama: a showdown between a new

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TAGS:
New York Times
health care
health care reform
deficit and national debt
national security terrorism and the military
Vietnam War
teachers
Republican Party
governors
labor
politics
Wisconsin
University of Wisconsin
federal budget

Middle East Unrest Means Higher Gas Prices

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The price of gasoline in the United States is where the rubber meets the road at the intersection of American foreign and domestic policy.

There’s not much we can do (except cheer for the forces of freedom) to influence events in Egypt or the other countries in the Mideast where there is political ...

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TAGS:
national security terrorism and the military
Egypt
Iran
energy policy and climate change
Republican Party
tea party

Voters Snookered Republicans on Budget Cuts

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When Speaker John Boehner lies awake at night wondering how things in the House got so bumpy so fast, there's one person he worries about the most. It's not a triangulating Democrat or a hard right Republican. It's Jodine White.

Last year, White took part in a New York Times/CBS poll that found 92 ...

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TAGS:
tea party
state budgets
politics
deficit and national debt
Republican Party
Democratic Party
Congress
2010 Congressional elections
Boehner, John
unemployment
federal budget

Florida Gov. Rick Scott Plays Politics with High-Speed Rail Funds

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Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s announcement that he would reject $2.4 billion in federal stimulus money to build a high-speed rail between Tampa and Orlando may generate the same reaction from other states as I display when someone at a dinner party piously turns down the chocolate torte: more for me.

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TAGS:
Republican Party
unemployment
energy policy and climate change
Mica, John
transportation
politics

Poll: Birthers Now Make Up a Majority of Republican Primary Voters

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I'm starting to think that the Republican Party is actually going crazy. There are the South Dakotans who want to make the murder of an abortion provider " justifiable homicide;" there are legislators in a dozen different states trying to resurrect the long-dead, never-legitimate nullification ...

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TAGS:
politics
tea party
media
Gingrich, Newt
Huckabee, Mike
Romney, Mitt
Bush, George W.
national security terrorism and the military
9/11
Republican Party
Paul, Ron
Obama, Barack
2012 presidential election
Palin, Sarah

On Deficit and Housing, Congress Engages in Pointless Symbolism

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The minitrend of new members of Congress sleeping in their offices would be amusing if it weren’t such a sad metaphor for the approach to reining in the deficit and debt.

Bunking in the office isn’t new; lawmakers have done it in the past, particularly when the House schedule only required members ...

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TAGS:
Congress
Republican Party
Democratic Party
deficit and national debt
White House
health care reform
Ryan, Tim
Schakowsky, Jan
2012 presidential election

New Push to Defund the Stimulus

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Newly-minted U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy, backed by a broad-based coalition of conservative organizations, is, on behalf of the U.S. taxpayers, trying to recover the remaining unspent money from the Obama stimulus plan.

The plan, which celebrates its second anniversary this week, was supposed to revive the ...

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TAGS:
economic stimulus
Congress
White House
Democratic Party
Republican Party
deficit and national debt
unemployment
Obey, David

Obama Budget Proposes Sensible Overhaul of Corporate Tax Loopholes

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Lowering the corporate tax rate would cost jobs.

Mind you, the job loss would not be among those sad grunts now pictured in newspapers, signing up for unemployment benefits. No, the new unemployed would be the well-paid tax attorneys who scour the tax code for loopholes. They would be followed in ...

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TAGS:
lobbying
federal taxes
taxes
corporate taxes
unemployment
White House
Obama, Barack

Obama's Brutal Budget

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Everybody should relax and take it easy this weekend because Monday will be a very busy day.

We will celebrate Valentine’s Day with the loves of our lives; Boston Red Sox pitchers and catchers will report to spring training and President Obama will submit his budget proposal to Congress. Please ...

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TAGS:
Bachmann, Michele
Boehner, John
unemployment
deficit and national debt
politics
Obama, Barack
Obama administration
federal budget
Democratic Party

Tea Party Could Cost Colorado GOP a Presidential Election in 2012

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LAKEWOOD, COLO.--It's entirely possible that hell has just frozen over. I agree with outgoing Colorado GOP Chair Dick Wadhams, once described as "Karl Rove 2.0." In his straight-no-chaser comments after exiting the state GOP chairman's race, Wadhams told Lynn Bartels of the Denver Post, "I'm ...

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TAGS:
politics
Buck, Ken
tea party
Palin, Sarah
Democratic Party
Udall, Mark
Bennet, Michael
Republican Party
Congress
2010 Congressional elections
2012 presidential election

Shirtless Christopher Lee Shows More Class Than Other Scandal Pols

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There are two possible explanations for the stunningly speedy departure of Christopher Lee from Congress: either there’s more to the story than we know, or Lee is displaying a level of honorability that arguably says more about his character than his apparent effort to find dates on Craigslist.

Lee,

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TAGS:
Lee, Chris
Republican Party
Democratic Party
Congress
Vitter, David
Ensign, John
Spitzer, Eliot
politics

Obama Tax Deal Left GOP Without Jobs and Unemployment Answers

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President Obama caught a lot of flack, particularly from the left, for the tax deal he cut with Republicans in December, extending the Bush tax cuts in exchange for, among other things, an extension of unemployment benefits. Progressives accused Obama of caving to the right and while I disagreed on ...

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TAGS:
Congress
Democratic Party
politics
health care
health care reform
deficit and national debt
Obama, Barack
economy
Republican Party
unemployment
federal budget

Gov. Rick Scott's Florida Budget a Tea Party Dream

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In an election full of surprises, one of the biggest was the election of businessman Rick Scott as governor of Florida.

Coming out of nowhere, Scott—who had previously been active in the fight against nationalized healthcare—bested two statewide elected officials on his way to winning the top office ...

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TAGS:
tea party
deficit and national debt
Republican Party
health care reform
2012 presidential election
Florida
politics

True Conservatives Should Be Wary of the Patriot Act

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Memo to the new Republican House majority: Be careful what you wish for.

The House failed this week to approve an emergency extension of parts of the USA Patriot Act, in large part because 26 Republican lawmakers—eight of them freshmen—balked at extending the controversial law. The act, speedily ...

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TAGS:
politics
national security terrorism and the military
Congress
Democratic Party
Republican Party
Sununu, John
9/11

Poll Spells Trouble for Palin in 2012 ... Unless It Doesn't

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CNN and Opinion Research released a new poll this afternoon which is getting a lot of notice for Republicans signaling a strong desire to nominate an electable candidate against Barack Obama in 2012 rather than someone who is right down the line on the issues. While on its face this seems a blow ...

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TAGS:
Palin, Sarah
Republican Party
tea party
2012 presidential election
2010 Congressional elections
Congress
politics
polls
Obama, Barack
Romney, Mitt
Huckabee, Mike
CNN

Patriot Act Extension Fails, Splitting Tea Party Republicans

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The Patriot Act took a temporary hit Tuesday night when the House failed to muster a two-thirds majority to extend three provisions of the law under special fast-track rules. It’s a temporary setback for the bill, which is expected to easily pass in a few days under regular rules. And it’s a kick ...

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TAGS:
Democratic Party
Republican Party
tea party
Congress
2010 Congressional elections
Obama, Barack
national security terrorism and the military
White House
House of Representatives
politics
Bachmann, Michele
Noem, Kristi
West, Allen

Unemployment Key to the 2012 Presidential Race

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National Journal's Charlie Cook has a typically insightful analysis of last week's unemployment numbers and the great spinfest they set off (unemployment rate down, but actual net number of new jobs created weak). Noting that Ronald Reagan faced a tough economy in his first term before riding a ...

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TAGS:
tea party
unemployment
Obama, Barack
Angle, Sharron
2010 Congressional elections
Republican Party
2012 presidential election
Congress
politics
polls
CNN

GOP Support for Trade Retraining Program Angers Conservatives

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A new effort to revive federal assistance to workers displaced by trade agreements has congressional conservatives ready to be up in arms.

Under the terms of an otherwise obscure provision of U.S. law known as the Trade Adjustment Assistance Program, or TAA, American workers who lose their jobs as ...

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TAGS:
unemployment
Camp, Dave
Republican Party
Democratic Party
deficit and national debt
international trade

Obama Should Show 'Exceptionalism' in Egypt Crisis

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Just how "exceptional" is America in the global grand scheme of things?

If it is still so, that we are special on the world stage, now is the time to prove it by muscular diplomatic engagement with Egypt to further democracy and peace in the Middle East. We have a lot to make up for in that ...

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TAGS:
Clinton, Bill
Reagan, Ronald
Egypt
national security terrorism and the military
health care reform
Obama, Barack

GOP Tea Party Challenge in Colorado Helps Democrats in 2012

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LAKEWOOD, COLO.--Colorado isn’t a red state or a blue state--it’s a moderate state with a strong libertarian streak, and whichever party captures that spirit best will do well with voters. We are fiscally conservative but socially liberal and pro-privacy rights-government should mind its own ...

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TAGS:
Bennet, Michael
Democratic Party
2012 presidential election
Republican Party
tea party
politics
Congress
Colorado

Egypt Protests: Even Castro Says Mubarak's Got to Go

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It can't be a good sign if you're an embattled, long-tenured autocrat and one of the senior members of the dictators' club says that your time is up. Even as Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak scrambles to stay in office for a few months more, long-time Cuban leader Fidel Castro issued his view, that ...

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TAGS:
foreign policy
national security terrorism and the military
Obama, Barack
Cuba
Egypt
Castro, Fidel

John Boehner, Michele Bachmann, and the GOP Divide

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In his little red book, Chairman Mao wrote “revolution is not a tea party.” The GOP leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives has already started to learn this lesson the hard way.

The 112th Congress has been in session for less than a month and already there are already signs of the sharp ...

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TAGS:
politics
Obama, Barack
Republican Party
deficit and national debt
Ryan, Paul
tea party
Bachmann, Michele
Boehner, John
Congress

Obama Should Freeze Aid to Mubarak to Support Egypt Protests

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“Let my people go!” That is what Moses asked centuries ago in the desert of the pharaoh.

And now, the descendants of that pharaoh are asking to be freed, but this time of the 30-year dictator Hosni Mubarak.

[See photos of the Egypt protests.]

And now it is time for we the people of the United States,

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TAGS:
Obama, Barack
McCain, John
Egypt
national security terrorism and the military
foreign aid

Media Shouldn't Confuse Civility With Bipartisanship

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In the movie Chocolat, a whimsical shopkeeper whips up mysterious concoctions in her kitchen that somehow manage to solve the problems of everyone who tastes them. When you see it, you can tell the filmmakers are convinced their audience will be captivated, watching in breathless wonder as the ...

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TAGS:
media
health care reform
2010 Congressional elections
Congress
Democratic Party
Republican Party
gun control and gun rights

Republican Healthcare Repeal Push Hurts Mitt Romney in 2012

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Mitt Romney might find it a bit awkward to conduct the usual endorsement and strategy meetings with fellow Republicans this campaign season.

Romney hasn’t announced he is running for president, though he has been raising money for months toward that potential jump. But while the former Massachusetts ...

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TAGS:
Romney, Mitt
2012 presidential election
DeMint, Jim
Congress
Democratic Party
Republican Party
health care reform
White House
politics
Obama, Barack
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