Why Obama is playing nice

I meant to write this last week, but was reminded by John Dickerson’s article about Obama making overtures to Paul Ryan (as if that is going to work). Obama has been having dinner, meetings, etc., with Republican legislators.  So what’s going on here?  My theory: Obama absolutely knows that on this own this is going to get him nowhere.  I nice dinner is not going to turn your typical GOP legislator into someone who is no longer constitutionally opposed to any and all increases in government revenue.  Rather, Obama is simply playing to the DC press and Beltway punditry.  These guys– as I’ve discussed– just love bipartisanship.  Obama has to act like he’s trying to get positive media coverage– even though in reality it’s more akin to negotiating with a brick wall– in the hopes that the media coverage will give him a more favorable dynamic.

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Down with the Senate

The United States Senate is, quite simply, a monstrously unrepresentative body.   Nothing like a cool graphic to make this point, courtesy of NYT:

Senate

 

This may have made sense in 1789– not so much 2013.  I used to assign my Intro class a nice essay making the case for abolishing the Senate.  Count me in.

Photo of the day

From a Telegraph gallery of animal photos:

One-year-old Siberian tigers play in the reserve at the Tiger's Park in Hailin city, China.  Over 40 tigers are in the program now, hunting livestock put by researchers in an area of 20 hectares. The park, a breeding center of tigers, owns more than 300 Siberian tigers, all born in captivity.

One-year-old Siberian tigers play in the reserve at the Tiger’s Park in Hailin city, China. Over 40 tigers are in the program now, hunting livestock put by researchers in an area of 20 hectares. The park, a breeding center of tigers, owns more than 300 Siberian tigers, all born in captivity.Picture: Feature China / Barcroft Media

Jeb = Mitt

Well, Jeb Bush has been really makes the political rounds lately, and it appears his diagnosis of the 2012 election is pretty identical to Romney’s.  I’m not impressed:

President Obama won a second term in the White House in part by “dividing the country,” former Florida governor Jeb Bush (R) said in an interview that aired on Sunday morning.

“I think the basic part of his campaign was that those that were successful weren’t paying their fair share, even though we have incredibly high taxes for high income Americans,” Bush said on CBS News’ “Face The Nation.” “I think he ran a campaign of them and us. And it was quite effective, that somehow the Republicans don’t care about the large number of people.”

A few things here…

1) I would argue that even if you want to take this “dividing the country” bit seriously, it’s not that Obama somehow (successfully) divided the country, but that the country is dividedand Obama’s campaign sucessfully exploited that division.  I believe that’s called politics.

2) “Incredibly high taxes for high income Americans”?  Seriously?  Sure, they are higher than for your average working stiff.  But incredibly high?  Ask Mitt Romney about that effective 13% rate.  Also, in both historical terms and in cross-national terms, there’s nothing “incredibly high” about our tax rates.  I don’t think Jeb is an idiot, so that makes this pure demagoguery.

3) And about “somehow the Republicans don’t care about the large number of people”?  I’m going to argue that this was effective because it is largely true.    What exactly is the Republican party offering lower income Americans except tax cuts for rich people and fewer government regulations– which did not magically improve their lives under GWB?  Listen to 10 minutes of right-wing talk radio and tell me that there aren’t huge swaths of America that a lot of Republicans really don’t care about.

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