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Visual Source: Newseum

WaPo: Oh, my God! Oh, my God! Pawlenty and Huntsman didn't win! What are we gonna do?

Republican race snaps into focus with unlikely top tier of Romney, Bachmann, Perry
Unlikely only if you haven't been paying attention for the last six months. Democrats (generic, via polls) and independents (whatever they are, these days) want compromise on everything except jobs, Republicans want a fight to the death on everything.

Joe Sudbay:    

Chuck Todd: Perry-Obama would be a picture of sharp contrasts.

David Gregory: You know, Perry talked about potentially seceding from the union. You think that's extreme. Well people on the other side think that introducing health care reform for the whole country is akin to European Socialism.

WTF? Pushing secession somehow equals national health care? No. Not even close. But, that's the way our elite pundits think. They create an equivalency between Democrats and Republicans, as if the right wing's extremism is somehow, well, normal. It's not. Yet, Gregory legitimized Perry's secession talk.

So, 2012 could become a battle between secession and health care. And, the traditional media and pundits will consider that a legitimate debate.

See Matt Bai doing the same thing.  The Republican candidates are whacko and extreme, and an unnamed Democrat is, too, so therefore the Democrats are the same as the Republicans. Terrible political reporting.

From PPP:

EJ Dionne:

The biggest factor is the end of the default threat. Make no mistake: The administration was petrified that conservatives in Congress really would push the country over the cliff in the debt-ceiling fight. GOP leaders may have realized the dangers involved, but Obama worried that if he miscalculated, House Republicans might not muster a majority to prevent the worst from happening.

Obama’s aides say he understood liberal anger over the Republicans’ irresponsibility in using the default threat to strengthen their own bargaining position. But while progressives wanted the White House to call the right wing’s bluff, Obama insisted that this was not a risk a president could take. He preferred to escape this box with the best flawed deal he could get, provided he could take the lethal debt-ceiling weapon out of Republican hands.

Having done so, the White House now sounds liberated. Even a government shutdown would be a day in springtime compared with the economic Armageddon that default might have let loose. Obama has a margin for maneuver and action he didn’t have before.

I hope so because we've needed something more than we've seen.

Jonathan Bines gives us a tongue-in-cheek reality check:

In the wake of the Debt Ceiling Debacle of 2011, it has become abundantly clear that progressives must change tactics if they are to achieve their policy aims. No longer can we cling to the outmoded strategy of proposing policies we actually support, and pursuing these policies by means of reasoned discussion and analysis. Only by adopting extreme, absurdist positions and abandoning all rationality in their defense can we hope to achieve our ends.
Chris Cillizza:
Former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty’s decision to drop out of the presidential race on Sunday — nearly six months before the first votes are set to be cast in the 2012 contest — was the result of a fundamental misreading of the Republican primary electorate and a failure to properly manage the expectations game.
I'd say more about Pawlenty's epic failure, but I'd only have to repeat what I've been saying for months.


Few Republicans — or independent political analysts — would disagree with Adams’ contention that Perry’s entry into the 2012 presidential contest will shake up the GOP field and add a burst of excitement to a race dismissed by many insiders as lackluster. But there is no guarantee the heralded entrant will live up to his advance notice as the savior of the Republican Party.

“Everything that is being said about Rick Perry right now was said about (former Tennessee Sen.) Fred Thompson four years ago,” says Fergus Cullen, a New Hampshire Republican activist who has not endorsed any candidate. “It can be very hard to live up to the hype, and Governor Perry has gotten a lot of hype.”

Indeed, Perry is the latest in a long line of great political hopes from Texas who entered the presidential arena with Lone Star swagger and a bulging bankroll. Only one of them — George W. Bush — went on to win the presidency on his first try.

Did someone, I say, someone say Fred Thompson?

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