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gallup on gun control 12/27/2012

Gallup from 12/27/2012, showing increased support for stricter laws after Newtown

NY Times:

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, pushing New York to become the first state to enact major new gun laws in the wake of the massacre in Newtown, Conn., plans on Wednesday to propose one of the country’s most restrictive bans on assault weapons.
Retired Army Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the former top commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, said Tuesday he supports “serious action” to curb the nation’s gun violence, including an assault weapons ban.
National Journal:
Is Gabby Giffords the New Jim Brady?

As former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords announced her efforts to prevent gun violence on Tuesday—exactly two years after she was shot in the head while meeting with constituents—some gun-control advocates say they see a powerful new symbol for their cause.

“Who could express more than she can what it is like to be a victim?” said Sarah Brady, chairwoman of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

The issue is not going away. And for those who oppose any new regulation of any kind whatsoever, do me this one favor: take 24 hours and think hard about Newtown before you respond. Just think about what happened, and consider your position. We know not every idea will be a good one. We know gun rights advocates belong in the conversation, and we want you here. But think about what we're thinking about, back in Newtown. Just do me this one small favor.

Dana Milbank:

A pair of polls out this week shows the dire state the Republican Party finds itself in — and a way out of the wilderness, should Republicans choose to take it.

Poll No. 1: Rasmussen Reports found that views of the tea party — the wing of Republicanism that dominates party primaries and therefore the congressional Republican caucuses — at a new low. Only 8 percent of likely voters considered themselves tea-party members, down from 24 percent in 2010. According to Rasmussen (which tends to have a pro-Republican bias), unfavorable views of the movement topped favorable views, 49 percent to 30 percent.

Poll No. 2: Fairleigh Dickinson University found that 73 percent of New Jersey voters approved of the job their Republican governor, Chris Christie, is doing — near his all-time high. Even 62 percent of Democrats approve of Christie, as well as 69 percent of racial minorities and 70 percent of women. The top would-be challenger to Christie in November’s gubernatorial election is trailing him by 33 percentage points.

So here's the thing: The fact that Christie will not be acceptable to Republicans because of his bipartisan moves is exactly why they have a problem.

Nate Cohn has a smart take on that.

Charles Krauthammer is going a bit too far in describing an "internal civil war" among House Republicans, but as others noted last week, the vote on the Senate's "fiscal cliff" compromise revealed a deep divide between northern and southern Republican congressmen—a divide many attributed to non-competitive and deeply GOP districts. But a deeper analysis of the vote reveals that the partisanship of districts is only part of the story: The party's north-south split appears to be a matter of ideology, too. That bodes poorly for the GOP's ability to adjust after November's elections, and promises yet another messy, protracted primary in 2016.
Francis Wilkinson:
President Barack Obama's anticipated nomination of Chuck Hagel as defense secretary shows how the polarization of Obama's second term might differ from that of his first. His first term was polarizing despite Obama's efforts. His second could be polarizing because of them.

After a robust re-election (and not only in the Electoral College; Obama won by 5 million votes), Obama is bound to look at lockstep Republican opposition in a different light. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham described the selection of Hagel, who departed from the Republican foreign policy fold as soon as the Iraq War went south, as an "in your face" move.

So it is. As Peter Beinart argues convincingly, the Hagel nomination represents both an affront to Republicans, who have never honestly reckoned with the disasters of George W. Bush's foreign policy, and to Democrats, who have spent decades crafting foreign policy designed in part to avoid inciting aggression not from abroad, but from Republicans.

Peter Orszag:
One little-noted provision I was encouraged to see tucked in last week’s fiscal-cliff legislation is Section 601(b): an incentive for doctors to expand their use of something called clinical data registries.

These registries collect information on patient characteristics, patterns of care and outcomes that can be crucial to evaluating what medical techniques and strategies work and which ones don’t. Unfortunately, registries are not as widespread as they should be -- and the ones that exist often are limited to particular types of care.

National Journal:
In 1963, Treasury Secretary Douglas Dillon delivered a speech at a University of Connecticut awards luncheon—reproduced in the pages of the New York Federal Reserve's monthly review—that argued that no fiscal-policy issue was "in need of more light and less heat as the debt limit." And his arguments are strikingly familiar.

"[L]et no one labor under the delusion that the debt ceiling is either a sane or an effective instrument for the control of federal expenditures," he said.

Hitting the ceiling would force the government to delay paying its bills, Dillon argued. It's an idea central to one modern plan to avert a debt default, but it comes with economic consequences, he said.

"That is exactly what happened in 1957, when an unrealistic debt ceiling forced the executive to defer payment on its bills. No expenditures were cut back; they were simply postponed and government contractors had to wait for their money," he said. "The unhappy economic effect of that unrealistic 1957 debt ceiling—in combination with other restrictive fiscal measures—needs no retelling here. But anyone who recalls the lesson of 1957—the year from which we date the pattern of slow economic growth which the president's tax program is designed to alter—is not likely to forget it," he said.

Holding up the debt ceiling "in the name of fiscal responsibility" would only wreak havoc, Dillon argued. "[A]n unduly restrictive ceiling could place this country in an untenable fiscal situation."

Everything old is new again.

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