Saturday, January 7, 2012

Is Santorum History?

As I said before, Americans prefer rhetorical fairy tales to unpleasant realities.

"Modern American politicians almost never use their campaign rhetoric to deliver bad news or to challenge the citizenry." Read the Los Angeles Times , The coddled American voter.

And Santorum is about to find out why. Read the Washington Post, Santorum says debt crisis demands immediate cuts in Social Security, even if it hurts.

Lookin Better and Better for Obama

UPDATE: First, good news for the economy, bad news for Republi-CONs.

Now complaints that his proposed tax plan that saves top 1 percenter only $82,000, makes Romney an Obama neo-socialist in disguise?!

It's looking more and more like President Obama for four more years.

"With the Republican presidential field as fractured as ever, talk of a brokered GOP national convention is increasing in Republican circles. And a big reason is that Rep. Ron Paul of Texas is positioned to, at minimum, earn a large enough bloc of delegates in next year's caucuses and primaries to be a real force." Read U.S. News, GOP Nightmare Scenario: A Brokered Convention.

In the meantime, a "rare showdown between House and Senate Republicans over a temporary extension of the payroll tax cut poses a political threat to the party’s members on both sides of the Capitol heading into the 2012 elections.

It feeds into President Barack Obama’s campaign narrative that House Republicans’ obstructionism has resulted in a do- nothing Congress at a time when middle-class Americans need help in a struggling economy. At the same time, it fuels Tea Party opposition to Senate Republicans who teamed with Democrats to pass a two-month extension instead of a longer-term fix." Read Bloomberg, Tax Politics Pose Risk for Republicans.

"Given how [GOP Senate leader Mitch McConnell] and House Speaker John Boehner have handled the payroll tax debate, we wonder if they might end up re-electing the President before the 2012 campaign even begins in earnest." Read the Wall Street Journal, The GOP's Payroll Tax Fiasco, How did Republicans manage to lose the tax issue to Obama?

It's all part of "Obama 2.0, a feistier president willing to take the fight to Republicans," with new and improved approval ratings. Read the Washington Post, Post and CNN polls show Obama’s fight is working, which includes this graph:

And don't forget, for a "killer calculus of the president’s re-election chances," see this prior post, Obama in 2012?

Modern Family: A Man, A Women, and Her First Husband

A relationship in violation of the Defense of Marriage Act, "whereby the federal government defines marriage as a legal union between one man and one woman."

But she says "it's not the legal arrangement, it’s the emotional arrangement, that emotional commitment" that makes them family.

Read the Washington Post, A family learns the true meaning of the vow 'in sickness and in health'.

Is the Can at the End of the Road?, An Update

UPDATE V: News that is unlikely to comfort the families of Americans who died in Iraq:

"It was one of the deadliest insurgent groups in Iraq in recent years, an Iranian-backed militia that bombed American military convoys and bases, assassinated dozens of Iraqi officials and tried to kidnap Americans even as the last soldiers withdrew.

But now the Shiite-led government of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki is welcoming the militant group into Iraq’s political system, a move that could tilt the nation’s center of gravity closer to Iran. The government’s support for the militia, which only just swore off violence, has opened new sectarian fault lines in Iraq’s political crisis while potentially empowering Iran at a moment of rising military and economic tensions between Tehran and Washington.

The militant group, Asaib Ahl al-Haq, broke away from the fierce Shiite militia commanded by the anti-American cleric Moktada al-Sadr, who has strong ties to Tehran. The American military has long maintained that the group, led by a former spokesman for Mr. Sadr, Qais al-Khazali, was trained and financed by Iran’s elite Quds Force — something that Iran denies."

Read The New York Times, Political Role for Militants Worsens Fault Lines in Iraq.

UPDATE IV: Iraq continues to unravel. Read The New York Times, Attacks on Shiites in Iraq Kill at Least 60.

UPDATE III: "With the withdrawal of the last U.S. troops from Iraq, we’re finally going to get the answer to the core question about that country: Was Iraq the way Iraq was because Saddam was the way Saddam was, or was Saddam the way Saddam was because Iraq is the way Iraq is — a collection of sects and tribes unable to live together except under an iron fist. Now we’re going to get the answer because both the internal iron fist that held Iraq together (Saddam Hussein) and the external iron fist (the U.S. armed forces) have been removed. Now we will see whether Iraqis can govern themselves in a decent manner that will enable their society to progress — or end up with a new iron fist. You have to hope for the best because so much is riding on it, but the early signs are worrying." Read The New York Times, The End, for Now.

UPDATE II: The end of the road? Read the Washington Post, Iraq war draws to a quiet close and Arc of Iraq war told in images and The New York Times, Ravaged and Remade, Iraq Is on Its Own.

And consider an Iraq what-might-have-been.

UPDATE: As we debate the debt ceiling, it should be asked again, after the all the blood and treasure, was the Iraq war worth the price? Before you decide, read The New York Times, U.S. Report Finds Security Deteriorating in Iraq, which reports:

"Over the past year, security in Iraq has deteriorated and electricity shortages and corruption have continued unabated, according to a report released Saturday by a special inspector appointed by Congress to oversee Iraq’s reconstruction.

The report, released five months before the United States is scheduled to withdraw 47,000 troops from Iraq, paints a bleaker picture of the country’s stability than assessments by diplomatic officials."

As asked before, what good did the can kicking do? Read the Guardian, Fears of al–Qaida return in Iraq as US–backed fighters defect.

After the all the blood and treasure, was it worth the price?