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poll on election priorities

National Journal:

Obama was clearly most incensed, however, by recent pledges from Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., to block any nomination of U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice as secretary of State because of her comments after an attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that left four Americans dead. McCain has zeroed in on Rice’s contention five days after the attack that the violence resulted from a “spontaneous demonstration” over an anti-Muslim film, as opposed to a premeditated terrorist attack. He has called that characterization either a Watergate-style cover-up or “the worst kind of incompetence.”
Bitter John McCain still can't get over losing, but he's even more pissed that Obama's foreign policy was more sophisticated, nuanced, and just plain better than his own (Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb bomb Iran). Lindsay Graham is different... he'll be reasonable on immigration, but he's scared to death of a Republican primary and relishes the controversy. And no, what they say is not as important as what the president says, even if McCain goes on MTP again. Meanwhile, Republicans have nothing else to talk about that'll get (or that they want to get) press coverage.

National Journal:

The outline of an immigration deal is already there. It involves a path to citizenship for undocumented workers and tightened restrictions on the border and in the workplace so that it will be harder for illegal immigrants to live in the United States and find work.

Now all that is needed is the coalition that supports it. That’s happening too. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who crafted similar legislation in 2006 with Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., tweeted after the election, “I agree with calls for comprehensive immigration reform.” Senator-elect Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., worked on similar legislation in the House. Both McCain and Flake rejected legalization of illegal immigrants in the 2010 tea party wave, but they have said they did so because it was not politically viable. Now it is.

Ruth Marcus:
The president’s mind-set as the “fiscal cliff” approaches is far feistier. He won reelection in a campaign that centered on higher taxes for the wealthy. Even more, in the White House view, the hazard of cliff-jumping is way less than the danger of ceiling-hitting.

So rather than extend the Bush tax cuts for higher-income taxpayers, the president is willing to risk another recession — a move he would blame, and with good reason, on Republican intransigence.

EJ Dionne:
Just as important, the voters repudiated the very worst aspects of post-Bush conservatism: its harsh tone toward those in need, its doctrinaire inflexibility on taxes, its inclination toward extreme pronouncements on social issues, and its hard anti-government rhetoric that ignored the pragmatic attitude of the electorate’s great middle about what the public sector can and can’t do. If conservatives are at all reflective, we should be in for a slightly less rancid and divisive debate over the next couple of years.

Yet Obama and his party need to understand that running a majority coalition is difficult. It involves dealing with tensions that inevitably arise in a broad alliance. Democrats won because of huge margins among African Americans, Latinos and Asian Americans, but also because of a solid white working-class vote in states such as Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania, particularly from union members. Obama needs to think about economic policies that deliver benefits across this wide spectrum of less well-to-do Americans. A longing for balanced budgets is not what drove these voters to the polls.

Richard A. Arenberg, filibuster defender:
The “constitutional option” could be accomplished in January (or, really, any time) if the Senate’s presiding officer decides to ignore the rules and the advice of the parliamentarian — which presiding officers usually rely upon — and declares that debate can be ended by majority vote. Republicans would appeal, but if 51 Democrats hold the line they can table the appeal, which would allow the ruling to stand as the new precedent of the Senate.

No one should be fooled. Once the majority can change the rules by majority vote, the Senate will soon be like the House, where the majority doesn’t consult the minority but simply controls the process. Gone would be the Senate’s historic protection of the minority’s right to speak and amend. In the House, the majority tightly controls which bills will be considered; what amendments, if any, will be in order; how much time is allotted for debate; and when and under what rules votes occur. Often, no amendments are permitted.

Orrin H Pilkey on rational home-building:
Hurricane Sandy’s immense power, which destroyed or damaged thousands of homes, actually pushed the footprints of the barrier islands along the South Shore of Long Island and the Jersey Shore landward as the storm carried precious beach sand out to deep waters or swept it across the islands. This process of barrier-island migration toward the mainland has gone on for 10,000 years.

Yet there is already a push to rebuild homes close to the beach and bring back the shorelines to where they were. The federal government encourages this: there will be billions available to replace roads, pipelines and other infrastructure and to clean up storm debris, provide security and emergency housing. Claims to the National Flood Insurance Program could reach $7 billion. And the Army Corps of Engineers will be ready to mobilize its sand-pumping dredges, dump trucks and bulldozers to rebuild beaches washed away time and again.

Nathaniel Persily:
Does the re-election of the first black president mean the Voting Rights Act of 1965 is unnecessary and perhaps unconstitutional? The Supreme Court’s decision last week to consider a constitutional challenge to a key section of the act suggests that a perverse outcome of the 2012 campaign may be that President Obama’s victory spells doom for the civil rights law most responsible for African-American enfranchisement.

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