Paul Krugman, in "Hawks and Hypocrites" at The New York Times, relabels the "deficit hawks" with a bullseye "deficit scolds" and isn't pleased that one of the leading members of that clique, Erskine Bowles, is being rumored as a replacement for Tim Geithner:
It’s not just the fact that the deficit scolds have been wrong about everything so far. Recent events have also demonstrated clearly what was already apparent to careful observers: the deficit-scold movement was never really about the deficit. Instead, it was about using deficit fears to shred the social safety net. And letting that happen wouldn’t just be bad policy; it would be a betrayal of the Americans who just re-elected a health-reformer president and voted in some of the most progressive senators ever.Yes, it would be betrayal. And yet we appear to be on the verge of a negotiation in which some on "our side" will be asserting that the only thing to be decided is how much ground to give up to the guys who lost the election.
Eugene Robinson at the Washington Post is happy that "A new America speaks":
So much for voter suppression. So much for the enthusiasm gap. So much for the idea that smug, self-appointed arbiters of what is genuinely “American” were going to “take back” the country, as if it had somehow been stolen.Charles Krauthammer at the Washington Post, having repeatedly made a fool of himself with his pre-election prognostications, continues to do so in the aftermath. He argues in "The way forward" that all the Republican Party needs to do is get Sen. Marco Rubio to put forth a policy of "border fence plus amnesty" to corral Latinos into the GOP without the party having to make any structural changes.
On Tuesday, millions of voters sent a resounding message to the take-it-back crowd: You won’t. You can’t. It’s our country, too. [...]
On Tuesday, the America of today asserted itself. Four years ago, the presidential election was about Barack Obama and history. This time, it was about us—who we are as a nation—and a multihued, multicultural future.
Ruy Teixeira at the New York Daily News might have had Dr. Krauthammer in mind when he wrote "The Grand Anglo Party":
Republicans will be tempted to think they can close their yawning gap among these voters simply by moving to the center on immigration. To begin with, of course, that won’t be easy, given the tremendous hostility to a softer immigration policy among broad swathes of the Republican party.The Editorial Board of The New York Times in "The Foreign Policy Agenda":
But the GOP’s Hispanic problem runs deeper than that: Their views on economic, budget and domestic policy issues are also way out of sync with Latino voters.
American military commanders are expected to recommend a timetable soon for withdrawing forces from Afghanistan. After a decade of American blood spilled there, President Obama should declare that the schedule will be dictated only by the security of the troops, and the withdrawal should take no more than a year.Christopher de Bellaigue at The New Republic says in "The Sanctions Have Crippled Iran’s Economy, But They’re Not Working" that the sanctions against Iran are hurting the nation's economy and verge on creating a humanitarian crisis. But they aren't achieving their stated purpose of getting Iran to verify to the West's satisfaction that its nuclear program is solely for peaceful purposes:
The current course bucks the hopeful trend seen during most of the first Obama term, when America adopted a sensible, hands-off approach to most of the Middle East, thus contributing to the revolutions of 2011. The irony is that, compared to most Middle Easterners, ordinary Iranians are pro-American. Sanctions threaten not only to deny these people their health, education and hope for the future, but also to feed new grievances against the United States. It happened in Iraq, as we discovered after 2003. Hasn’t that lesson been learned?Doyle McManus at the Los Angeles Times writes that wedge issues didn't work out so well for Republicans this year in"What the GOP once used to divide now unites Democrats":
Take immigration, long a favorite wedge wielded by Republicans to rally white voters. Last week, the downside of that strategy was on display as Latino voters turned out in bigger numbers than ever before and gave 71% of their votes to the president. Chastened Republicans didn't need much time to figure out the math for future elections, when even more Latinos will register and vote.The Los Angeles Times Editorial Board, instead of delivering some wisdom on the subject hem and haws in another of its stodgy, committee-written editorials: "Marijuana's hazy future."
"We've got to deal with the issue of immigration," Haley Barbour, the former Republican National Committee chairman, told me. "We need an immigration policy based on the needs of economic policy."
Theo Anderson at In These Times writes about the GOP's year of magical thinking in "Now that the election charade is over, will the party accept reality?":
The 2012 election was a referendum on two very different approaches to public policy. One approach is to use the best available empirical evidence. The other is to rely on faith and wishful thinking. As in their campaign coverage, conservatives consistently opt for the latter route—a choice that has often blinded them to the reality in front of their noses. Climate change and the failure of supply-side economics are the most obvious examples.Katha Pollit at The Nation writes in "The You're-on-Your-Own Society" that voters apparently decided that "we're all in this together" is a more sensible approach:
They’re no less wrong about those than they were about the election. And moving forward, one of the great questions facing the body politic is whether conservatism is capable of learning to accept actual evidence rather than relying on faith. Mercifully, there was a mechanism for settling the debate in the case of the election. But things are rarely so cut-and-dried in the realm of policy, where politicians and pundits can go on spinning their own realities for years and decades.
The logical corollary of “You’re on your own” is “You’re your own damn fault.” Americans in general are keen on seeing social problems in terms of individual weakness—look at how we demonize fat people, as if the reason so many are overweight is just a lack of willpower. But that mindset is particularly part of the right-wing DNA. After all, if you can hold people solely responsible for their problems, you can ignore them, deprive them, even hate them. Rape victims, women with unwanted pregnancies, poor people (get a job!), drug users, children who commit crimes, people who have been imprudent or out of line in any way, have only themselves to blame. Nicholas Kristof wrote a New York Times column a few weeks ago about his friend Scott, who had a midlife crisis, quit his job to read books and play poker, didn’t buy health insurance even after he went back to work because it was too expensive, and, partly to save money but also because he was busy and had no wife to nudge him, postponed seeing the doctor about disturbing symptoms that proved to be caused by advanced prostate cancer. Kristof’s point was that we all make mistakes, and that good public policy takes that into account. In a follow-up column that noted Scott’s death, Kristof wrote that he was “taken aback by how many readers were savagely unsympathetic. ‘Your friend made a foolish choice, and actions have consequences,’ one reader said in a Twitter message.” Yes, actions have consequences, and that’s why we need society to protect us from our folly, ignorance and bad judgment—our own and one another’s.Dan Rodricks at the Baltimore Sun explains the reasoning behind his headline, "Election Day message: The nonsense of marijuana busts," with a breakdown of the 1.5 million drug abuse arrests in 2011 in the United States, as figured by the FBI:
[Marijuana possession] accounted for 43 percent of all drug arrests in 2011.Peggy Noonan, still gets to be silly at The Wall Street Journal. Her latest: "Republicans got complacent. Now it's time to rethink." Pardon me. A retraction. "Silly" does not begin to cover it.
So, just in case you were operating under the impression that the law had backed off the whole grass-possession thing, there it is: More than four out of 10 of all narcotics arrests made in United States were for people having marijuana in their possession. [...]
You don't have to be a liberal or libertarian to see how that makes little sense. You can be a conservative and see the merit in the argument to liberate the marijuana laws: The money spent on that effort could be returned to taxpayers or it could go to some other realm of law enforcement (prosecuting enterprises that pollute our water and air, or making our border with Mexico more secure). Maybe there's a new federal prison we won't have to build. Maybe our cops could spend more time working with at-risk kids to keep them from being recruited by gangs.
There's a better way to go with all this. The people in Washington and Colorado opened the door.