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Paul Krugman at The New York Times notes in The Big Budget Mumble that the elephant in the room has boxed itself in:

In the ongoing battle of the budget, President Obama has done something very cruel. Declaring that this time he won’t negotiate with himself, he has refused to lay out a proposal reflecting what he thinks Republicans want. Instead, he has demanded that Republicans themselves say, explicitly, what they want. And guess what: They can’t or won’t do it.

No, really.

Four experts on the subject at The New York Times offer their answers to Do Filibusters Stall the Senate or Give It Purpose?

Molly Ball at The Atlantic says in Did Citizens United Help Democrats in 2012? that the much-reviled Supreme Court decision may have been better exploited by Left than the Right:

After a year Democrats mostly spent fretting, freaking out, and fulminating against Citizens United--the 2010 Supreme Court decision that unleashed this year's flood of unfettered political spending--it was a bit unexpected to hear Michael Podhorzer, the political director of the AFL-CIO, say on Friday, "Super PACs are so awesome. It was long overdue that the Supreme Court recognized that corporations are people like everybody else."

Podhorzer, who spoke on a panel at the RootsCamp left-wing organizing conference, was being sarcastic--sort of. Progressives still really hate Citizens United. But in one of the most ironic turns of the 2012 election, groups on the left were some of the most skilled exploiters of the 2010 court decision.

Eugene Robinson, as he so often does, broke away from the pack at the Washington Post and wrote about, OMG! climate change in Is this the planet we want to leave behind?
You might not have noticed that another round of U.N. climate talks is under way, this time in Doha, Qatar. You also might not have noticed that we’re barreling toward a “world . . . of unprecedented heat waves, severe drought, and major floods in many regions.” Here in Washington, we’re too busy to pay attention to such trifles.

We’re too busy arguing about who gets credit or blame for teeny-weeny changes in the tax code. Meanwhile, evidence mounts that the legacy we pass along to future generations will be a parboiled planet.

Robert Howarth at the New York Daily News has a big problem with natural-gas advocates in his column, Fracking good for the climate? What a load of hot air:
The fracking cheerleaders are misinformed. Drilling for natural gas has some disastrous environmental consequences. It will speed climate change, not help stave it off.
Gary Younge at The Guardian mocks Dick Morris just by quoting his Tweets at length in Republicans, welcome to the reality-based community:
"If you beat your head against the wall," the Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci once wrote, "it is your head that breaks, not the wall."

On election night Morris's head exploded, leaving shards of baseless braggadocio scattered across cyberspace. Reality will do that, sooner or later. For Republicans it has been later.

Doyle McManus at the Los Angeles Times asks in Doubts about drones whether or not the civilian fatalities U.S. policy creates are recruiting as many terrorists as it kills.

Leonard Pitts Jr. at the Miami Herald writes Another case of 'black blindness'?

It is a kind of myopia that afflicts some of us—too many of us—whenever we gaze upon a dark-skinned man. It causes some of us—too many of us—to see things that are not there, and to miss things that are. Sometimes, it is fatal. [...]

We cannot yet know if black blindness was the cause of death for Jordan Davis, a 17-year-old black kid who was killed the night after Thanksgiving. But there is reason to suspect it was. Davis was shot by a 45-year-old white man, Michael David Dunn, who says he saw a rifle. At this writing, police have recovered no such weapon

Hendrick Hertzberg at The New Yorker writes Mandate with Destiny:
In 2004, the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal, conservatism’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, congratulated President Bush for “what by any measure is a decisive mandate for a second term” and exulted, “Mr. Bush has been given the kind of mandate that few politicians are ever fortunate enough to receive.” This year, examining similar numbers with different labels, the Journal came up with a sterner interpretation. “President Obama won one of the narrower re-elections in modern times,” its editorial announced.
John Nichols at The Nation asks, Is Paul Ryan Making Americans More Favorably Inclined Toward Socialism?
A new Gallup Poll finds that socialism is now viewed positively by 39 percent of Americans, up from 36 percent in 2010. Among self-described liberals, socialism enjoyed a 62 percent positive rating, while 53 percent of Democrats and independent voters who lean Democratic gave socialism a thumb’s up.
Carl Davidson at In These Times writes Somewhere Under the Rainbow:
A rainbow coalition of Democratic voters gave Barack Obama a victory over big Wall Street money and the steady drumbeat of hard-right racism. Nearly 45 percent of the president’s voters were people of color, with their numbers augmented by white women, youth and trade unionists. It was enough to keep him in the White House, but not enough to decisively change the overall balance of forces.

Now the harder struggles begin—for Obama, for the Democratic Party and for the Left. Tough choices face all three. [...]

The Left faces a choice, too. Do we continue trying to build mass movements, in the hope that they will be the engines of a new and transformative strategic politics? Or do we go further than our usual “movement building” mantra and put new emphasis on organization building? We’ve seen the Wisconsin and Ohio uprisings, Occupy Wall Street, and the pressing of the Robin Hood tax by the Congressional Progressive Caucus—all of which are the beginnings of an emerging popular front against finance capital, one pregnant with new potential. But without organization, movements simply ebb and flow—and often dissipate. Our task now is to combine fanning the flames with a new organizing thrust.

Peter Dreier weighs in at the Huffington Post on 50 Young Progressive Activists Who Are Changing America.

John Cavanagh and Robin Broad at The Nation write It's the New Economy, Stupid:

New Economy Working Group co-chair David Korten, author of Agenda for a New Economy, and top environmental scholar and practitioner Gus Speth, author of America the Possible, have laid out comprehensive agendas to speed the transformation from a speculative and militarized Wall Street economy to a vibrant, green and caring Main Street economy. Korten’s agenda includes steps to break up the “too big to fail” banks as well as incentives to expand state and community banks and other locally rooted institutions. Both authors pinpoint strategies to speed the transition, such as shifting our measurements of economic success from sheer output to the things we value as individuals and communities. Again, this is not pie in the sky: Maryland has created an Office for a Sustainable Future that measures twenty-six economic, environmental and social indicators as an alternative standard of well-being. Vermont and other state governments have begun to follow suit.

There is also momentum on the activism side—some of it building on the Occupy movement’s compelling case that the entire system needs to be changed.

Peggy Noonan is still not embarrassed to be seen in public as she proves at The Wall Street Journal (free link) in The Drawn-Out Crisis—It's the Obama Way. Without a blush she says the president is doing it wrong.

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