While Republicans struggled again to agree on a budget solution in their own House caucus, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, in his desert dry Nevadan manner, warned them that they won’t get a single Democratic vote in the U.S. Senate.
** QUICK HITS. House Republicans continued to struggle late Wednesday to present a united front on a DOA federal budget plan. Their halcyon days of the great Congressional takeover, just last November, seem a long time ago. … How does it all end, being as the sputtering global economic recovery is at stake, and all? Well, something major could still happen, I suppose, but look for a lowest common denominator solution that raises the federal debt ceiling, a matter of historical routine for generations. … A very quiet day in California politics, with the Citizens Redistricting Commission continuing its work and Governor Jerry Brown safe from jury duty. (Whew, wasn’t that a close one?)
** NEW POLL: ROMNEY HOLDS REPUBLICAN LEAD, BUT WHEN YOU ADD PERRY … A new Gallup Poll shows Mitt Romney with a significant but hardly insurmountable lead over the announced field for the Republican presidential nomination.
But when you add in Texas Governor Rick Perry, whose candidacy seems likely, that changes. Especially if you add one or two others. That makes it a statistical dead heat. But just Perry alone makes it tight.
Even without Perry, Romney’s national lead over the lesser known Michele Bachmann is only 27% to 18%, hardly a comfortable situation against a candidate who is the current likely winner in Iowa and has a demonstrated major fundraising capability. Ron Paul is third among the announced candidates, with 11%. Followed by Newt Gingrich with 7%, Herman Cain 5%, Tim Pawlenty 4%, Rick Santorum 3%, and Jon Huntsman 2%.
Mitt Romney is the leader for the GOP nomination among the current field of official candidates, supported by 27% of Republicans, compared with 18% for Michele Bachmann. However, Rick Perry would essentially tie Romney, with Sarah Palin and Rudy Giuliani close behind, in a scenario in which all three of these undecided candidates entered the race. …
Perry appears to be the strongest potential challenger to Romney at the moment, given the results of these recomputed preferences, trailing Romney by five percentage points, compared with eight- and nine- point deficits for Palin and Giuliani, respectively. Perry is also the only one of the three late-deciders whose support numerically exceeds Bachmann’s in these simulations. …
In the end, I assume that Palin and Giuliani do not run, though Giuliani is intriguing in that few had expected him to exhibit this level of interest this late.
My assumption is also that Perry does run, but gets in too late to make a very big play in Iowa, where he will not be on the August straw poll ballot.
While Bachmann and Perry are both far right conservatives, they draw from somewhat different bases. And Perry has his own sort of fundraising base as the governor of Texas.
Romney could well find himself fighting two well-funded conservatives who win important early contests — Bachmann in Iowa and Perry in South Carolina — while trying to guard against slippage among moderates to Huntsman as he fights the more rightward competitors.
His position is more than a little precarious.
House Speaker John Boehner had to back away late yesterday from his own ballyhooed federal deficit/debt ceiling plan.
** OBAMA TODAY. President Barack Obama is in Washington.
Obama and Vice President Joe Biden have received the daily intelligence and economic briefing in the Oval Office.
They then met with with senior advisors in the Oval Office.
Obama has no other events on his public schedule.
Obama continues work on the elusive raising of the federal debt ceiling, with less than a week to go before the deadline. There are now competing bills from House Republicans and Senate Democrats. I wrote yesterday morning that it remains to be seen if either has the votes to pass out of its house.
House Speaker John Boehner was boasting at the time that his bill would have to be the way to go. But as I expected, it ran afoul of his own Republican caucus, and stalled further when Congressional Budget Office scoring revealed that its deficit reduction was far less than advertised.
The situation is, not to put too fine a part on it, in a state of not quite hysterical chaos.
Meanwhile, the Afghan War has taken another bad turn, with it becoming clearer than ever that General David Petraeus has gotten out of town just in time.
Kandahar Mayor Ghulam Haidar Hamedi today became the latest victim of a major assassination.
The Taliban are claiming responsibility for his death by suicide bombing inside his heavily guarded compound in the hub of southern Afghanistan.
This is only the latest major assassination in Afghanistan, again challenging the notion of serious security advances there.
President Hamid Karzai’s power broker brother was killed inside his own high-security compound in Kandahar just two weeks ago.
Then one of Karzai’s most senior advisors, a former provincial governor, was gunned down in his high-security home in the capital city Kabul.
The Afghan Taliban pulled off another major assassination today, killing the mayor of Kandahar.
Obama is also monitoring a variety of other geopolitical crises, mostly related to the Arab awakening, AfPak, and Iraq.
War Zone Times: Libya is nine hours ahead of Pacific time, Iraq and Yemen are ten hours ahead of Pacific time, and Afghanistan is eleven and a half hours ahead of Pacific time.
** FROM THE JERRY FILES. Governor Jerry Brown is in Northern California.
He has no scheduled public events as of this morning.
Reaction continues to his latest big move of the past several days, this his appointment of UC Berkeley Law Professor Goodwin Liu to the California Supreme Court, discussed yesterday here on NWN.
Liu, 40, and an exquisitely credentialed liberal son of Taiwanese immigrants, became somewhat controversial when opposition from the right led to a Senate filibuster against his appointment by President Obama to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Not that he would have lost an actual vote of the U.S. Senate, mind you. Liu would have been confirmed, absent the minority veto exercised by a Republican filibuster threat.
And the reaction to Brown’s appointment? Generally positive.
This will be an ongoing story, of course, with California poised to join Hawaii as one of the only two states with an Asian-American majority on its state Supreme Court.
Meanwhile, with the federal government teetering on the verge of default, state Treasurer Bill Lockyer has completed his shrewd move to lock in cash-flow for the state government in advance of any roiling of capital markets.
Lockyer yesterday completed the sale in private markets of a $5.4 billion “bridge loan.” California will reportedly pay less than quarter of one percent in interest.
** NEW COLUMN COMING UP … OVER AND OUT, ABOVE AND BEYOND: IS THE SPACE AGE OVER OR JUST BEGINNING?
** OBAMA KABUKI: THE BUDGET AND THE POLITICS OF POSITIONING. What’s President Barack Obama up to in the big federal budget deficit/debt ceiling debate? After months of letting Vice President Joe Biden carry the ball, Obama has placed himself center stage in the midst of controversy, even as agreement seems to get farther away.
What is he really after? To solve the multi-faceted problem? Well, sure, that would be nice. But what he is really after is what all first-term presidents are after. A second term.
Obama, in my opinion, is engaged in what former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger called political “kabuki.” A stylized dramatic dance that draws attention while obscuring true purpose.
And what is his true purpose? To appeal to moderates by occupying the center and pushing the Republicans to the starboard side fringe. … From my July 13th column.
** WHY DID JERRY BROWN VETO THE FARM WORKER BILL? It seemed very counter-intuitive. But was it? …
Many were surprised by Brown’s veto, given his long history with the farm worker movement. Which is more extensive than has been widely reported. … From my July 8th feature.
** A SHIFTING REPUBLICAN PARTY MAKES MISCHIEF FOR OBAMA ON LIBYA. … From my July 2nd essay.
** JERRY BROWN FINDS A CALIFORNIA BUDGET THAT FLIES, FOR NOW. … From my June 29th feature.
** OBAMA’S BIG REPUBLICAN PROBLEM (IT’S NOT WHAT YOU THINK). …From my June 23rd column.
** FROM GOVERNATOR TO MOONBEAM. … From my January 3rd, 2011 feature.
** OBAMA: RIDING WITH HISTORY. (NOTE: As Barack Obama was inaugurated as the 44th president of the United States, this column was the featured column on the top of the front page of the Huffington Post.) … From my January 19th, 2009 Huffington Post column.
** 24/7 LIVE TV NEWS FEED FROM AL JAZEERA. With the US entangled in three wars in the region, and the Arab awakening underway, it’s valuable to keep up with news and perspectives from the leading Middle Eastern-based TV news network. Based in the Gulf Arab state of Qatar, Al Jazeera is very influential and more than a bit controversial. Click here for a live TV news feed on your computer. The NWN live link to AJ does not constitute an endorsement of the channel’s views. It’s presented as an otherwise unavailable new media window.
** 24/7 LIVE TV NEWS FEED FROM RUSSIA TODAY. Russia has re-emerged as one of the world’s great powers. Click here for a live TV news feed on your computer, bringing you English-language, jargon-free, fast-paced coverage of global and Russian news from the Russia Today channel. You probably already know about CNN International, BBC World, and Al Jazeera. Russia Today, which also features culture, entertainment, and sports, is based in Moscow and is owned and operated by the TV Novosti division of Russia’s state news agency, RIA Novosti. While it’s quite foolish to expect to see, say, criticism of Vladimir Putin on Russia Today, the channel is very interesting nonetheless. With U.S. cable news chattering away as it does, this sort of respite can be informative. The NWN live link to RT does not constitute an endorsement of the channel’s views. It’s presented as an otherwise unavailable new media window.
** TRACK GLOBAL AND NATIONAL ENERGY PRICES IN NEAR REAL TIME VIA BLOOMBERG ENERGY MARKET WATCH. Having crashed over $147 for yet another record on July 11th, 2008, crude oil is trading around $98 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
This is up about $64 from the low of $34 per barrel prior to enactment of the Obama economic recovery program, reflecting a low point in global economic activity.
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