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memorial ad sampler from local Newtown paper

Ad sampler from last week's local Newtown paper, the Newtown Bee

Charles Blow:

This time, nearly a month after the horrible mass shooting in Newtown, Conn., the public attention hasn’t ricocheted to the next story. On the contrary, sorrow has hardened into resolve.

This time, something can and must be done. And it looks as if something will...

Second, more reasonable people of good conscience and good faith, including responsible gun owners, need to talk openly, honestly and forcefully about the need for additional, reasonable regulations.

There is power in speaking up. We know the face of unfettered gun proliferation. Now it’s time to see more faces of regulation and restraint.

We do that here.

Greg Sargent:

If Republicans continue with their debt ceiling brinksmanship, you’re likely to hear powerful GOP-aligned voices from the business community calling for Congress to cut the nonsense and raise the debt ceiling without delay. Even some Republicans and conservatives, such as Newt Gingrich and the Wall Street Journal editorial board, have warned this will compound the GOP’s political problem.

And here we go: The powerful Financial Services Roundtable — which is headed by former GOP presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty and represents nearly 100 of the largest financial service firms in the country — is set to increase pressure on Congress to raise the debt limit, warning that failure to do so will make the markets go “haywire.”

AP on CT responses to gun law change:
State Senate Majority Leader Martin Looney, a Republican [sic] and a longtime proponent of tougher gun laws, said he is hoping the political climate has changed since the tragedy.

"I'm hopeful that some people will recognize that not every gun regulation bill is a serious threat to the Second Amendment and that people will be a little more reasonable about accepting some reasonable regulation," he said.

Ahh, sweet reason. [PS he's a proud Democrat]


On the eve of a potential confirmation battle for secretary of defense nominee Chuck Hagel that may hinge on his opposition to the Iraq war, most Americans continue to think the war was a mistake and was not worth fighting, according to a new HuffPost/YouGov poll.

According to the survey, 52 percent of Americans think it was a mistake for the U.S. to send troops to Iraq in 2008, while 31 percent say it was not. In addition, 55 percent of respondents said the war was not worth fighting, and only 27 percent said it was.

"Most Americans" agree with Daily Kos and Chuck Hagel? Neo-cons are so wrong, and so out of touch.

The Fix:

Obama knew that in picking Hagel, he was picking a fight — particularly with Senate Republicans, many of whom loathe their former colleague for his move toward the Democratic party in recent years.

But, Obama — and his team — clearly believed that the Hagel fight was a) worth having and b) winnable even without the majority of Republicans on board. And so, he did it — knowing full well that it was going to be a battle.

(The decision by Obama to go forward with Hagel when he backed away from pushing Susan Rice, a personal friend, for the State Department amid a similar avalanche of criticism is telling. Obama is underrated as a political pragmatist; he walked away from nominating Rice because he knew it was a fight he would lose.)

That willingness to pick fights with Republicans under the belief that the other party has largely pre-determined that they won’t work with Obama also underlies how differently the president now approaches his legislative priorities.

Hagel is hardly a progressive paragon.  But fight for this one, and win, guys. It's good for the country for the Republicans in Congress to lose a few more.

Jonathan Chait:

The two parties are currently at loggerheads over the manufactured crises of budget sequestration and the debt ceiling. President Obama’s position is that the two parties should enact a mix of cuts to retirement programs and revenue increases through tax reform. The Republican position is that no more revenue can be considered, and further deficit reduction must consist entirely of domestic spending cuts.

The merits of the two positions can of course be debated. What is beyond dispute is that Obama’s negotiating position is exactly the same as the centrists. If they believed that the $600 billion in revenue Obama secured, on top of the $1.5 trillion in spending cuts agreed to in 2011, was enough revenue, and Obama was demanding an excessively revenue-heavy solution to the deficit issue, then obviously they should argue as much. But they do not believe that. In fact, the Bowles-Simpson plan would raise far more revenue than Obama is asking for. One party stands completely in accord with their position, and it has not happened entirely because the other party stands against it.

Why, then, don’t they say this? Part of the answer is careerist. The elite centrist drone is emitted by people who deem non-partisanship an essential part of their job description. If they concede that one party is advocating their agenda, then you could flip the sentiment around and correctly conclude that they are advocating the agenda of a party; therefore, they would be partisan and have thus forfeited the entire basis of their claim to respectability.

More on this from David Atkins, who dug up this Greg Sargent column from 2011:
Self-styled “centrist” columnists have a perennial problem on their hands. They have built reputations by calling for middle-of-the-road solutions to our problems. Yet they can’t acknowledge that Obama and Democrats are the ones who are offering solutions that are genuinely centrist, because that would constitute “taking sides.” This would imperil their “brand,” which rests heavily on transcending partisanship, and on their ongoing insistence that the future depends on following a middle ground between the parties.
From Chait, and Atkins, and Sargent, a very appropriate look at the "both sides do it" garbage you read in the press. And it is garbage. And it's been said here.

Michael Tomasky:

I see that Brent Bozell, who never runs out of ways to spend rich conservatives’ money, now has an outfit called For America, which is mounting a pressure campaign against Mitch McConnell over his role in the fiscal cliff deal. The online ad buy will be targeted to Kentucky and will ask, “Mitch McConnell, which side are you on?”—that of socialism or that of Kentuckyism? What struck me when I read this was: How come there isn’t a group that is taking out ads against Rand Paul, McConnell’s junior colleague, one of just five GOP senators who voted against the bill, asking him which side he’s on—the side of bare-minimum fiscal sanity or the side of ruining the economy for the sake of making an ideological point? Of course there isn’t. But there must be. In fact there is nothing—nothing—our political system needs more than a strong and well-financed moderate-Republican pressure organization.
Now that's what the centrists should be writing. Their inability to label the Republicans as the radicals they are is hurting America.

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