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Obama getting closer to 51% now at 50.96

Maintained by David Wasserman @redistrict

NY: That probably means @BarackObama national margin over @MittRomney will fall slightly short of 5M votes, but he'll hit ~51.1%
@Redistrict via web

Carl Hiaasen:

[Paul] Ryan, who’s trying to extricate himself from the wreckage of the Romney campaign, is also running for the White House in 2016. In the absence of a Gaga-style makeover and mass voter amnesia, he can’t win. This year he couldn’t even deliver his home state of Wisconsin.

[Marco] Rubio, on the other hand, will be worth watching once voters recover from the hangover of 2012. His appeal is potentially broader than that of anybody on the GOP horizon, which isn’t saying much, but he’s still their best hope.

If the guys running the party were smart, here’s what they’d do: They would put Rubio, the son of Cuban immigrants, in charge of writing an immigration-reform bill that included a pathway to citizenship for the millions of undocumented aliens already living and working in the United States.

No single act would do more to convince Hispanic voters that the GOP wasn’t innately hostile toward them. That’s crucial because the White House cannot be won by a candidate who scares off Hispanics the way Romney and John McCain did.

NY Times:
Even if Republicans were to agree to Mr. Obama’s core demand — that the top marginal income rates return to the Clinton-era levels of 36 percent and 39.6 percent after Dec. 31, rather than stay at the Bush-era rates of 33 percent and 35 percent — the additional revenue would be only about a quarter of the $1.6 trillion that Mr. Obama wants to collect over 10 years. That would be about half of the $800 billion that Republicans have said they would be willing to raise.

That calculation alone suggests the scope of the other major tax issues to be negotiated beyond tax rates. And that is why many people in both parties remain unsure that a deal will come together before Jan. 1. Without agreement, more than $500 billion in automatic tax increases on all Americans and cuts in domestic and military programs will take hold, which could cause a recession if left in place for months, economists say.

Leonard Pitts, Jr. on the 'read my lips - no new taxes' conundrum for republicans:
A few words to ponder as we sail toward the fiscal cliff. Those words would be: “That was then, this is now.”

Strip away the false piety and legalistic hair splitting offered by Republican lawmakers rationalizing their decision to abandon a pledge that they will never ever, ever, ever vote to raise taxes, and that’s pretty much what the explanation boils down to.

Rep. Peter King says he understood the pledge, propounded by the almighty Grover Norquist and his group Americans for Tax Reform, to obligate him for only one term. Apparently, he thought it had to be renewed, like a driver’s license.

Sen. Lindsey Graham says that if Democrats agree to entitlement reform, “I will violate the pledge for the good of the country” — a stirring statement of patriotism and sacrifice that warms your heart like a midnight snack of jalapeño chili fries.

In other words: bull twinkies. If you want the truth of why a trickle of GOP lawmakers is suddenly willing to blaspheme the holy scripture of their faith, it’s simple. The pledge used to be politically expedient. Now it is not.

Anne-Marie Slaughter on one aspect of Hillary's legacy and problems:
Women of my generation remember well how big a step it was for Madeleine Albright to break the secretary of state glass ceiling in 1997. Just a decade later, by 2008, Carol Jenkins, then president of the Women’s Media Center, was noting that “secretary of state has become the women’s spot — a safe expected place for women to be.”

I’m not so sure about that. A recent news report quoted a “longtime foreign-policy expert who has worked for Democratic administrations” as saying that Rice’s voice “is always right on the edge of a screech,” reminding us that sexist caricatures of strong women as witches — or a word that rhymes with that — still abound.

Another angle from the NY Times:
Mrs. Clinton may find that her freedom comes with one huge constraint. The more serious she is about 2016, the less she can do — no frank, seen-it-all memoir; no clients, commissions or controversial positions that could prove problematic. She will be under heavy scrutiny even by Clinton standards, discovering what it means to be a supposedly private citizen in the age of Twitter. With the election four years away — a political eon — she will have to tend and protect her popularity, and she may find herself in a cushy kind of limbo, unable to make many decisions about her life until she makes the big one about another White House try.
An interesting Michael Gerson article on Dorothy Day:
The recent vote by America’s Catholic bishops to move Dorothy Daytoward canonization was controversial, but mainly among those who manufacture controversy for a living. The media have enjoyed pointing out that Day’s main advocate, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, is a traditionalist, while Day was a socialist who once had an abortion. It must be something like a conservative president nominating a raging liberal to the Supreme Court, except with eternal tenure at stake.

The application of political categories to theological matters is usually a mistake. In this case, it exceeds the media’s usual quota of religious ignorance.

See Mark Sumner's Alternative Pundit Round-up here.

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