Happy Hour Roundup
BY GEORGE ZORNICK
December 23, 2013 at 5:47 pm – Matt Duss takes a long look
at polling data surrounding a potential nuclear deal with Iran, and finds some encouraging public support, in several cases by two-to-one margins. This runs contrary to the polling analysis issued by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee last week, which as Duss notes includes one “highly problematic” poll.
– There is an emerging strain of punditry declaring that Barack Obama’s presidency has gone the way of George W. Bush’s, as his popularity sags and Congress turns its back. But Jonathan Chait notes
the problem with the comparison is that Republicans in Congress have always had their backs turned:
If you measure the power of Obama’s presidency as the ability to move his agenda through Congress, his presidency has been dead since Republicans took control of the House in January 2011. If you measure it by his ability to use his popularity to force the opposing party to cooperate, it has literally been dead from the outset. In Obama’s first few weeks, with approval ratings in the seventies, he could not persuade a single House Republican to support a fiscal response to the most dire economic emergency in 80 years.
– Former New York Times executive editor Bill Keller launched another salvo in the battle between Democratic centrists and liberals, but Dean Baker fires back
and disputes much of Keller’s framing:
[I]t is actually fairly easy to summarize the distinction between Keller’s center-left and his left-left. His center-left wants to continue the policies that have led to a massive upward redistribution of income over the last three decades. The left-left wants to reverse these policies and replace them with policies that will lead to more equitable and more rapid growth.
Read the whole piece for a thorough dismantling of Keller’s position.
– Is the economy experiencing a true recovery, or is it anemic to the point of demanding drastic policy action? Timothy Noah says GDP is the key number to watch
for the answer.
– Ezra Klein rightfully takes it to
Sen. Rand Paul for his nonsensical assertion that cutting long-term unemployment benefits actually helps out the jobless.
– The fighting in South Sudan is getting worse by the day, and may be approaching the level of a civil war, which provoked a warning from President Obama this week about possible military action. Hayes Brown has five things you need to know
about the conflict.
– John Nichols calls baloney
on Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s move to sign a bill that would make it much harder for schools to drop Indian logos under the mantle of free speech, especially in light of Walker’s own assaults on the First Amendment during the mass protests early in his term.
– Is skepticism that red states will ultimately agree to expand their Medicaid programs warranted? Ryan Cooper writes
that we may have to wait for President Obama to leave office until we find out. Until then, the “Obamacare” brand may simply be too toxic for red state governors.
– Simon Maloy read
a Peggy Noonan column so you didn’t have to—and the way in which she talks about inequality in America must be seen to be believed.
– Who were the top pro-choice heroes of 2013? It’s an impressive list
of names, including more than one potential star on the national political stage.
– Millenials will ultimately enroll in Obamacare—not because of any fealty to the president, but because it removes a lot of uncertainty from their lives, writes