In his radio interview today with Al Sharpton, President Barack Obama, looking to further shape the blame game around sequestration, which currently favors him, said of Republicans: “My sense is that their basic view is that nothing is important enough to raise taxes on wealthy individuals or corporations, and they would rather see [billions in sequester cuts to social programs]. That’s the thing that binds their party together at this point.”
** QUICK HITS. Former Republican presidential nominee and Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole today endorsed Chuck Hagel’s confirmation as secretary of defense, calling him “uniquely qualified,” an “exceptional leader at an important time.” … Alabama Republican Senator Richard Shelby announced that he will vote to confirm Hagel. … Meanwhile, 15 conservative Republican senators who already opposed him sent a letter to Obama demanding that he withdraw the Hagel appointment. Humor has been in such short supply in this situation.
** NEW COLUMN COMING UP … THE HAILSTORM AROUND HAGEL POINTS UP THE SYSTEM’S DYSFUNCTIONALITY.
** JERRY-RIGGING: HEY, NICE NUMBERS. As Governor Jerry Brown heads east for the National Governors Association winter meeting, he takes some very nice polling numbers with him from the latest Field Poll.
Brown’s job approval is up to 57%, the highest it’s been in this go-round as governor. Only 31% disapprove.
And a plurality of California voters now believes the state is heading in the right direction, the highest that number has been since 2007, aka before the great global recession.
Even the much derided state legislature has a boost in its numbers, though it’s still very well underwater.
And a big majority, 55% to 39%, likes the fact that both houses of the legislature are now in super-majority Democratic control.
Of course, Brown was more popular during his first term as governor, with a record 69% job approval rating. Prior to running for president.
For the first two years of Brown’s latest term as Governor voter approval ratings of his performance were in the modest 43% to 49% range.
However, the most recent Field Poll finds a 57% majority now approving of Brown’s job
performance, the Governor’s highest rating since his election.
Contributing to this surge is the fact that big majorities of both Democratic and independent voters
now view the Governor’s performance positively. While most Republicans (65%) disapprove of the
job Brown is doing, a not inconsiderable proportion of Republicans (24%) give him a favorable
Brown served two earlier terms as Governor between 1975 and 1982. Field Poll surveys conducted
at the time show that while he maintained positive job ratings throughout his first term, especially
during his first two years in office, he fell out of favor with the public during his second term.
For example, early in his second year in office in March 1976, a record 69% of Californians
approved of Brown’s performance as Governor, while just 25% disapproved. However, by April
1980 and after his abortive run for President that year, Brown’s job marks turned highly negative,
with just 38% approving and 61% disapproving. His performance ratings never returned to positive
territory during the remainder of his term.
But even with these very strong numbers for Brown, there is widespread popular concern that big spending programs, tax policy, and friendliness to organized labor can go too far.
Funny how those things figure in something I’m working on regarding how the Democrats can still blow their golden opportunity to dominate California politics in perpetuity.
** NEW SURVEY: BROAD AGREEMENT BETWEEN DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS AND INDEPENDENTS ON GENERAL GEOPOLITICAL GOALS, DISAGREEMENT ON INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION. There’s an intriguing a new Gallup Poll survey out that finds broad agreement between the parties on the goals of thwarting terrorism, preventing the spread of nuclear weapons, and securing energy supplies. Pursuing favorable trade policies is a highly rated goal, as well.
Not to mention a general disdain for nation-building and other means of intervening in other countries’ internal affairs. Which is certainly not in keeping with the heavy interventionism of the previous administration.
Where the real difference comes is in the desire to work with other nations and global organizations to pursue these goals.
Democrats are strongly in favor, where Republicans are mostly opposed and independents are relatively narrowly in favor.
Republicans and Democrats broadly agree that goals related to defending U.S. national security interests and securing adequate energy supplies are paramount among nine possible U.S. foreign policy goals Gallup recently tested. However, partisans differ on the relative importance for the U.S. of promoting democracy, human rights, and international cooperation. …
The goal of promoting favorable trade policies in foreign markets ranks or ties for fourth among all party groups — after preventing future acts of international terrorism, preventing the spread of nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction, and securing adequate supplies of energy for the country — with roughly two-thirds calling this very important.
The greatest substantive difference between the two major parties is over the importance of working through the United Nations and other organizations to achieve global cooperation. Three-fourths of Democrats (75%) versus fewer than half of Republicans (42%) say this ought to be a very important U.S. foreign policy goal — a 33 percentage-point difference. Additionally, Gallup finds a 20-point gap in the importance Democrats and Republicans attach to promoting human rights in other countries, 64% and 44%, respectively. Democrats also put greater emphasis than Republicans on promoting economic development in other countries. Republicans, on the other hand, are more likely than Democrats to say defending U.S. allies’ security is highly important (70% vs. 57%). …
A day after Russia announced it will weigh in on its longtime ally the Assad regime to wind down the fighting in Syria, at least 42 people, most of them civilians, were killed in a powerful car bomb targeting the ruling Baath Party headquarters in downtown Damascus.
** NEW COLUMN COMING UP … THE HAILSTORM AROUND HAGEL POINTS UP THE SYSTEM’S DYSFUNCTIONALITY.
** OBAMA TODAY. President Barack Obama is in Washington.
Obama received the intelligence and economic briefings in the Oval Office.
He then met with senior advisors in the Oval Office.
At 8:45 AM Pacific, Obama begins a series of radio interviews, recorded not live, in the Oval Office with Al Sharpton, Joe Madison, and Yolanda Adams.
Meanwhile, Vice President Joe Biden continues the push for gun control today with a speech at Western Connecticut State University.
After two years of conflict in Syria stemming from the Assad regime’s repression of the Arab Awakening in which it mostly backed its longtime ally, Russia announced yesterday that it is intervening in the crisis to bring its old client under control and move to a peaceful future. We’ll see how that goes. And where President Assad goes.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, who thought he was retiring to his California Central Coast walnut farm, is in Brussels for the NATO defense minister meeting thanks to the Senate Republican filibuster-that-isn’t-a-real-filibuster of Chuck Hagel. Which will end next week.
The main topic of the Brussels confab? The winding down of the Afghan War. Which oddly was barely mentioned in Hagel’s Senate confirmation hearing.
Obama is monitoring several geopolitical crises involving Mali and Algeria, the Arab Awakening, Iran and Israel, Syria, Iraq, AfPak, and the South China Sea.
Military Crisis Zone Times: Mali is eight hours ahead of Pacific time, the Persian/Arabian Gulf is ten hours ahead of Pacific time, and Afghanistan is eleven and a half hours ahead of Pacific time. The time in Manila, on the South China Sea, is fifteen 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.
Brown is heading to Washington for the National Governors Association annual winter meeting.
He’ll meet with the president and various other folks, and may have a word or two to offer on various matters of state, here and there, but probably not everywhere. Though we won’t know until he says it.
Here is a very favorable Washington Post story with leading economists debunking claims that Prop 30 will negatively impact California’s economy.
** THE ANTI-HAGEL GAMBITS: CLEVER, BUT NOT REALLY THAT CLEVER. … From my February 15th essay.
** WITH LITTLE POLITICAL OR POLICY IMPACT AND DUMBED DOWN LANGUAGE, DOES THE STATE OF THE UNION EVEN MATTER? … From my February 12th column.
** JERRY BROWN FINDS FUN (IN NEW FOIL RICK PERRY) AND MORE THAN A BIT OF ILLUMINATION. … From my February 7th column.
** COME HAGEL OR HIGH WATER: IN THE SHADE OF IRAQ. … From my February 1st essay.
** THE STATE OF JERRY BROWN’S STATUS: AFTER THE STATE OF THE STATE. … From my January 30th essay.
** OBAMA’S CLEAR YET MUTED TRUMPET: HOPE’S AUDACITY MEETS LOWERED EXPECTATIONS. … From my January 23rd essay.
Prosecutors in the Oscar Pistorius case say they did not know lead detective Hilton Botha was facing attempted murder charges when they put Botha on the stand. I don’t know if Pistorius is guilty or not, but do find his immediate resort to guns, with his now late girlfriend seemingly unaccounted for in the house, very strange. The prosecution’s performance thusfar is almost as strange.
** 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 major military operations 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. 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 from the Russia Today channel. The NWN live link to RT does not constitute an endorsement of the state-run 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 $93 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
This is up about $59 from the low of $34 per barrel prior to enactment of the Obama economic recovery program, reflecting a low point in global economic activity, and down about $21 per barrel from the price at the time of the Osama bin Laden raid.
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