|—||Joe Williams: Ted Cruz is hurting the Republican party more than he’s helping himself|
The head of the North Carolina NAACP explains what Republicans are afraid of here.
|—||David Sirota: Would Ronald Reagan be a Republican today?|
John Fugelsang: The GOP is the ideological equivalent of spandex
|—||Political strategist Eric Burns. He joined Bill Press this morning to discuss the GOP’s attempt at a makeover.|
Senator Ted Cruz, the young, smart, tough-talking Hispanic legislator from Texas, was supposed to be the GOP’s savior. But he may be turning into the party’s worst nightmare. Wayne Slater from the Dallas Morning News and Michael Shure discuss Cruz’s latest extremisms.
Democratic strategist Alexis McGill Johnson and Current TV’s Cenk Uygur, John Fugelsang, Michael Shure and David Shuster react to Marco Rubio’s GOP rebuttal to President Obama’s State of the Union address.
With the Post Office ceasing Saturday delivery in August, Bill Press says they can’t be blamed for wanting to cut costs. Bill does blame the Republicans. He says they want the Post Office to fail so they can privatize it: “The Post Office doesn’t even get any tax payer dollars. It will never be cost effective until Congress gets off its back.”
On Tuesday, the “Gang of Eight” senators, four Democrats and four Republicans, announced a proposal to overhaul the immigration system. If all goes as planned in Washington, 11 million immigrants in the United States will have a path to citizenship by the spring. The senators said they would accomplish reform through one big comprehensive measure rather than several smaller pieces. Beyond the remarkable shift in federal policy, just hearing the word “bipartisan” — which seemed unthinkable only a year ago — is striking.
Under the senators’ plan, most illegal immigrants would be able to apply to become permanent residents, a crucial first step toward citizenship. The plan also creates an employment verification system that will prevent identity theft and put an end to hiring unauthorized workers.
As for the Republicans, the cynics among us might say the GOP is finally realizing the obvious: the demographics are not in their favor, and their party risks permanent obsolescence if it can’t tap into support from the Latino community. In the 2012 election, the GOP got a mere 29 percent of the Latino vote, a crushing defeat in a voting block that is expected to double by 2030. So unless Republicans want 2014 and 2016 election results to be like those of 2012, they need to embrace reform.
But despite the newfound flexibility, the “Gang of Eight” pushed to beef up border security in to order to bring the more conservative to the table. And so the path to citizenship for 11 million will happen only if new and tougher enforcement tools are used. Border agents could soon see new technology, including drones. Yes, drones. Plus a nationwide tracking system whose function will be to ensure illegal immigrants leave the country when required.
And in the most controversial element, all of this will need to be certified by a commission of border-state governors, law enforcement officials and community leaders. Some see risks that the success of the entire plan will rest in the hands of politicians like Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer.
President Obama says he likes the Senate blueprint and may very well skip his own proposal and back the “Gang of Eights.” But all of this still has to survive the House, and if Boehner can get his caucus together, it might have a chance. We’ll just have to see what other wonders 2013 has in store for us.
A week before his inaugural, President Obama says he won’t negotiate with Republicans over raising the debt limit.
At an unexpected news conference Tuesday he said he won’t trade cuts in government spending in exchange for raising the borrowing limit.
“If the goal is to make sure that we are being responsible about our debt and our deficit - if that’s the conversation we’re having, I’m happy to have that conversation,” Obama said. “What I will not do is to have that negotiation with a gun at the head of the American people.”
Well and good. But what, exactly, is the President’s strategy when the debt ceiling has to be raised, if the GOP hasn’t relented?
He’s ruled out an end-run around the GOP.
The White House said over the weekend that the President won’t rely on the Fourteenth Amendment, which arguably gives him authority to raise the debt ceiling on his own.
And his Treasury Department has nixed the idea of issuing a $1 trillion platinum coin that could be deposited with the Fed, instantly creating more money to pay the nation’s bills.
In a pinch, the Treasury could issue IOUs to the nation’s creditors — guarantees they’ll be paid eventually. But there’s no indication that’s Obama’s game plan, either.
So it must be that he’s counting on public pressure — especially from the GOP’s patrons on Wall Street and big business — to force Republicans into submission.
That’s probably the reason for the unexpected news conference, coming at least a month before the nation is likely to have difficulty paying its bills.
The timing may be right. President is riding a wave of post-election popularity. Gallup shows him with a 56 percent approval rating, the highest in three years.
By contrast, Republicans are in the pits. John Boehner has a 21% approval and 60% disapproval. And Mitch McConnell’s is at 24%. Not even GOP voters seem to like Republican lawmakers in Washington, with 25% approving and 61% disapproving.
And Americans remember the summer of 2011 when the GOP held hostage the debt ceiling, bringing the nation close to a default and resulting in a credit-rating downgrade and financial turmoil that slowed the recovery. The haggling hurt the GOP more than it did Democrats or the President.
But Obama’s strategy depends on there being enough sane voices left in the GOP to influence others. That’s far from clear.
Just moments after the President’s Tuesday news conference, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell called on the President to get “serious about spending,” adding that “the debt limit is the perfect time for it.”
And House Speaker John Boehner said “the American people do not support raising the debt ceiling without reducing government spending at the same time.”
The 2012 election has shaken the GOP, as have the post-fiscal cliff polls. Yet the Republican Party may not care what a majority of Americans thinks. The survival of individual members depends on primary victories, not general elections — and their likely primary competitors are more to the right than they are.