December 10, 2012 |
WASHINGTON - In summer 2011, negotiations between President Obama and House Speaker John A. Boehner over raising the debt ceiling featured plenty of drama. There were private grumbles, a very public round of golf, a phone call from the White House that went unreturned and, overall, a lost opportunity to secure a "grand bargain" on spending and taxes. Now, as high-stakes talks between Obama and Boehner rev up again, the lessons of that summer appear to be producing a new steadiness and comfort level between the two men. After weeks of private phone calls and public posturing, the Ohio Republican quietly ducked into the White House on Sunday for his first one-on-one meeting with the president since mid-2011.
December 7, 2012 |
Before he gets to the fiscal cliff, Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) will have to traverse the conservative chasm. On one side of the growing rift stand pragmatic conservatives such as Ann Coulter and Bill Kristol who say Republicans should give ground and let President Obama raise taxes on the wealthiest 2% of Americans. On the other side stand hard-line conservatives such as Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) , a gaggle of right-wing pundits and tea party diehards who shout, “Never give in!
December 4, 2012 |
Saturday night, I attended a wonderfully raucous dinner party where politics was as much a main course as the grass-fed beef. New York Times columnist Tim Egan - a good friend and a superb writer - was sitting two plates down the table from me and, late in the evening, he was expressing disbelief that members of the U.S. Congress would be crazy enough to drive the country off a "fiscal cliff. " Egan made the point that families dependent on unemployment checks, as well as other needy Americans, will suffer unless a budget agreement forestalls the huge federal budget cuts and tax increases that are primed to kick in on Jan. 1. I raised my voice (there were plenty of raised voices throughout the meal)
November 29, 2012 |
Ayatollahs seem to just appoint themselves and then start enforcing their own brand of orthodoxy. Grover Norquist has been doing that in the Republican Party for years. Norquist has never been elected to anything. Nobody ever said he should be in charge of the GOP's true religion (although he claims President Ronald Reagan urged him to found his lobbying group, Americans for Tax Reform). But he certainly has been the Republicans' key political theologian, making opposition to tax increases the party's central tenet for more than 25 years.
November 20, 2012 |
On Monday, investors on Wall Street sent stocks soaring on the airy hope that the president and Congress will come up with a deal to avoid the "fiscal cliff" that looms at the close of the year. This only proves that the masters of finance have all the emotional sophistication of 13-year-old Justin Bieber fans. Apparently, investors so want to believe that a budget deal will be struck to keep the U.S. from falling back into a deeper recession that they have abandoned informed skepticism and opted for wishful thinking.
November 14, 2012 |
WASHINGTON - Republicans chose Rep. John A. Boehner for another term as House Speaker on Wednesday as lawmakers of both parties all but ensured the new Congress will have very similar leadership to this one, the most polarized and unpopular in history. Rep. Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco is expected to remain as the Democratic minority leader, and senators returned Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada as the Democratic majority leader and Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky as the Republican minority leader.
November 13, 2012 |
WASHINGTON - As a subdued John A. Boehner started to lay the groundwork for compromise with President Obama to avert a year-end tax and spending crisis, the House speaker also began a delicate dance around the deep divisions in the Republican Party. As Congress returns Tuesday, the Ohio Republican must contend with the tea party wing, which helped the GOP retain the House majority as many conservatives won reelection, but which also contributed to its losses in the Senate. Republican leaders are reevaluating their relationship with the tea party, a political marriage that has fueled gridlock and, some believe, played a role in the GOP's dismal outcome at the polls.
November 7, 2012 |
WASHINGTON - House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) made an opening offer Wednesday to avert an impending fiscal showdown, softening his party's confrontational tone one day after its electoral losses. But he stood by the GOP's core no-new-taxes pledge that has prevented a deal with the White House. The Republican shunned the bombastic approach favored by the GOP's tea party wing and sought to portray his House majority as ready to work with President Obama when Congress returns for what is expected to be an intense lame-duck session.
November 7, 2012 |
The people have spoken. President Obama has won a chance to move beyond the stunted progress of his first term and, perhaps, become a historic president. On the losing side, the Republican Party remains shut out of the White House and has blown a chance to take over the U.S. Senate, largely because it catered to the narrow concerns of tea party zealots and social conservatives who imagined themselves as the only authentic Americans but who are, in fact, way out of step with most of the people in this country.