Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Daily Strike-11/12/09-Deliberate

Good evening and welcome to the Daily Strike. Congress will be out of session until Monday morning, and so will we. Please leave us some comments while we're gone, and watch out for some updates on our Twitter feed, which you can find if you scroll down on the right of your screen.

AFGHANISTAN: The Big Picture pointed out something very encouraging yesterday. President Obama has apparently rejected each of the plans given to him by his national security team. Obama wants to alter the plans to make sure there is a clear exit strategy, and a firm plan to hand over power to Afghan security forces. Obama's decision came after a very disturbing report from Ambassador Elkenberry, who said that the Karzai government is still too corrupt to be a good faith partner. As The Big Picture pointed out, this sort of deliberation from Obama is exactly why many of us supported him over Hillary Clinton. He's not giving in to the demands of the conventional wisdom in the media, and he is not blindly heeding the advice of his national security apparatus. Chances are, he is still going to send upward of 30,000 troops to Afghanistan, possibly more. But at least he would be doing so with a clear idea of the mission, and an eye on how to get out of there, at least I hope. Another thing The Big Picture pointed out: Obama made his decision after visiting Arlington National Cemetery, and thus reminding himself of the true cost of war.

JOBS: Before President Obama left on a week long trip to Asia, he announced that he will be holding a summit in December on job creation. The summit will feature leaders from government, business, labor and other stakeholders. He held similar summits earlier this year on health care and fiscal responsibility. Sure, these summits are largely for show. I don't expect any policies to be made during a 3 hour session at the White House. But it does show that the President is adapting to the reality that high unemployment is foremost on the American people's mind right now. Hopefully the summit will lead to a strong jobs bill in early 2010 that contains money for infrastructure spending and tax breaks for businesses that create jobs.

HEALTH CARE: It's possible that we'll get a CBO estimate tomorrow on the Senate's version of health reform. For most Senators, this estimate won't make a difference because their minds are already made up one way or another. But it could help people like Joe Lieberman, who mistakenly think, for example, that the public option will be deficit-busting, when it would actually reduce the deficit. We're still on track to see the bill come to the floor next Monday, which would mean it would be voted on sometime hopefully by the end of the decade.

ODDS AND ENDS: A couple of quick tidbits:

-Irony of the day: The Republican National Committee health plan covers abortion. I won't say anything else, but it is quite the example of hypocrisy.

-A scary moment for Democrats today: Apparently sworn-in Congressman Bill Owens didn't win by as much as we thought he did. Earlier in the day, it was reported that Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman was cheated out of some 2,000 votes in last week's election. This put him behind by only 3,000 votes with 10,000 absentee votes outstanding. For a few minutes there, it looked like Hoffman could throw things into chaos and win the race. We later found out that only 5,400 people turned in their absentee ballots, meaning Hoffman would have to win about 80% to overcome the deficit. Luckily, not gonna happen.

That's it for now. See you Monday morning!

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