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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Stories to Watch: 2/13/12

The Washington Post printed a banner graphic today, spelling out the State of the Union in bullet-points. The problem is, they forget a couple of bullets; climate and energy. Which is really odd, seeing that -- other than an impassioned call for a vote on his gun control package -- this was the most forceful section of the President's address.

Never mind the awkward reach for water. That was probably just bad planning on an aide's part and it means nothing. Look at what Marco Rubio actually talked about in the Republican response -- it was bad. "By any sensible measure, Rubio's entire pitch was incoherent gibberish." says Steve Benen. It's like he got a bunch of GOP fortune cookies, cracked the fortunes out of them, and taped them all together into something that kind of resembled rhetoric. It was copy and paste Republican lies, tired and stale and worn thin with repeated debunking. It was his big moment, you'd think he would've at least tried.

Also in Rubio news -- and this is pretty weird -- Marco says being a senator is "a form of worship in terms of how I dedicate it to God and make Him the purpose of my service." I think he's confusing elected office with the priesthood. Note: this was after he voted against the Violence Against Women Act, so I guess by "worship," he means "human sacrifice."

Further Rubio news: he has a very interesting definition of "working class."

Republicans filibuster Chuck Hagel -- the first time a cabinet nominee has ever been filibustered. They would rather the nation be without a Secretary of Defense than give up an opportunity to score cheap political points. Whether the filibuster will hold is another story. My money's still on Hagel's confirmation. Because of the GOP Civil War, there is no Republican United Front. There will be defectors.

A note on the previous item: it marks the complete failure of Harry Reid's phony "filibuster reform." Reid said he had a way to limit the filibuster and, whether Hagel wins confirmation or not, Republicans were still able to filibuster his nomination. In fact, since no cabinet secretary nominee has been filibustered before, they're able to do it in fun new ways. Not super-clear on what was supposed to have been accomplished here.

Here's the best evidence you're likely to find that the GOP has a policies problem, not a PR problem. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has been one of the main advocates of putting a happier face on the GOP, while changing absolutely nothing policy-wise. How's that working out for Bobby? Well, like this: his job approvals are in the toilet, 20 points underwater. It's a long way between now and then, but a 2016 run at the White House seems like a pipedream from where we're standing now. Hey GOP, you should totally take Bobby's advice. Democrats will thank you for it.

House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers has a plan to kick the sequester can down the road again, with a continuing resolution that would fund government until Sept. 30. The biggest roadblock to his plan -- other Republicans, who are damned and determined to crash the economy if they don't get a chance to slash spending and crash the economy. The GOP Civil War marches on, in all its brainless glory.

Finally, Pres. Obama's call to raise the minimum wage gets the reception you'd expect from congressional Republicans. Remember when I said they were busy casting themselves as villains? Yeah...

[photo via White House]

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