Visual source: Newseum
The increased flow and vital port improvements have produced a 20 percent jump in exports this year to nearly 2.5 million barrels of oil a day, making Iraq one of the premier producers in OPEC for the first time in decades.
Energy analysts say that the Iraqi boom — coupled with increased production in Saudi Arabia and the near total recovery of Libya’s oil industry — should cushion oil markets from price spikes and give the international community additional leverage over Iran when new sanctions take effect in July.
But it's all about gas prices, right? This will clinch Obama's election, right? Right? Crickets. Well, not right. Just like higher gas prices doomed him. Not right, either. There are consequences, but they are indirect.
At this point, however, Mr. Obama and his political team don’t seem to have much choice. They can point with pride to some big economic achievements, above all the successful rescue of the auto industry, which is responsible for a large part of whatever job growth we are managing to get. But they’re not going to be able to sell a narrative of overall economic success. Their best bet, surely, is to do a Harry Truman, to run against the “do-nothing” Republican Congress that has, in reality, blocked proposals — for tax cuts as well as more spending — that would have made 2012 a much better year than it’s turning out to be.
For that, in the end, is the best argument against Republicans’ claims that they can fix the economy. The fact is that we have already seen the Republican economic future — and it doesn’t work.
But let’s try an experiment: Can we at least reach consensus on the sort of debate between now and November that could help us solve some of our problems? I’ll let you in on the outcome in advance: Ideology quickly gets in the way of even this modest effort.
Start out by defining goals everyone could rally around. We need to get the economy moving faster and bring unemployment down, an all-the-more-urgent imperative after last week’s disappointing jobs report. We want all Americans to share prosperity and to reverse the trend toward widening inequality. We want a sustainable budget where, in good times, revenue more or less matches expenditures. And we want an education system that prepares members of the next generation for productive and rewarding lives.
Notice a few things about this list. It does not include social issues.
Alas, it therefore doesn't include Republicans.
So why do [Republicans] keep up the [repeal and replace] pretense? The monthly Kaiser tracking poll out today has a good reminder. The health care reform law remains generally although not extremely unpopular, ticking down a bit over the last month but still within the general range that it’s been in since passage. But supporters as usual can take some solace in the very stable numbers on what to do about it. There, the combination of either leaving it the same (20%) or expanding it (27%) continue to be more popular than the combination of straight repeal (21%) and repeal and replace (18%).
Five months before Election Day, you'd think there would be no better harbinger about who will win the White House than a contentious statewide vote in a critical battleground state that never moved on from the 2010 campaign.
You'd be wrong.
Did y'all get that? You'd be wrong. It's important for WI, but it's not an omen or an augury for the country—other than emphasizing liberals and conservatives don't agree on solutions.
Two public opinion polls released on Sunday show Wisconsin Republican Governor Scott Walker with a lead of three and six percentage points two days before the election to recall him because of a new law reducing the power of public sector unions.
Clay Barbour/Wisconsin State Journal
Public Policy Polling, a Democratic polling firm, said Walker was leading 50 percent to 47 percent over Democratic challenger Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett in its final survey. Angus Reid polling had Walker ahead 53 percent to 47 percent. Both findings were within the margin of error so the results could be even tighter.
The PPP margin of three percentage points compared with a five-point Walker lead in their survey three weeks ago.
MADISON -- Protests. Lawsuits. Recall elections. More protests. More lawsuits. More recall elections.
Is this the "new normal" for state politics?
Passionate debates are nothing new in Wisconsin, a purple state with a long history of activism. But the winner of Tuesday's historic recall election between Gov. Scott Walker and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett faces an unmuddled landscape cut down the middle: all red on one side and all blue on the other.
Conservatives like the governor's policies and think he's fixing long-ignored problems. Liberals hate his policies and feel he betrayed the state's progressive past. Neither side seems willing to give an inch.
This deep division has some experts wondering how the state can tackle its toughest problems when its citizens and leaders are so dead-set against working together.