What a busy week. Yesterday we saw a brand new President Obama. He had harsh words for Senators McCain and Graham, inviting them to fight him, in lieu of a proxy fight with Susan Rice. McCain actually called Rice all sorts of words that do not apply to Rice, but, um, do to Spunky Palin. The president spoke much more quickly than we normally see, more forcefully, more, perhaps, presidential. Methinks the learning curve is over, along with the effect of acting as if the GOP would negotiate in good faith.
Obama is looking at the need to fill all sorts of cabinet positions. Perhaps his defense of Susan Rice yesterday was indicative of his plan to nominate her for State, and maybe not, but either way, it likely defines how he will fight for his nominees (cabinet, Supremes, and everything else that the GOP has endeavored to sideline.) He was also quite clear about the fact that he will NOT backtrack on raising taxes on the rich. He has a mandate, he knows he's got it, and he's going to take it out and run with it. Hopefully, straight over Grover Norquist, who is now faced with a decreasing number of people who will honour their pledge to him.
Obama has also been out and about working with corporate giants, labour, and has let it be known that he'll be continuing to involve the OFA organization and its members going forward. THIS TIME, we're not going home until the next cycle begins in earnest. A valid criticism of Obama's first term was that he didn't engage. I'm thinking those days are behind us.
On the state fronts - Arizona is still counting ballots, and it might be a difference in the Senate race. It's all about Maricopa County, and perhaps this will be the end of Joe Arpaio, and not a moment too soon.
The only two marquee races in 2013 are the gubernatorial contests in Virginia and New Jersey. Virginia has an interesting law where people cannot be governor in consecutive terms, but can run again after a term passes. Mark Warner is happily in the Senate, and likely won't run again. But Terry McAuliffe has already announced that he will. The GOP side will present an interesting primary between a tea bagger and a moderate.
In New Jersey, Cory Booker had been considering running against Chris Christie, but Sandy might change all the calculus. For everything bad to be said against Christie, he's doing the best job possible in light of the major tragedy that has befallen the state. He may well run, but limit campaigning and instead focus on getting everyone re-housed, and the state returned to normalcy. If so, he'd likely be unbeatable. But he may also decline to run, just to focus on Sandy-related activities. If so, Booker's got a clear shot, and Christie improves his prospects for getting through the 2016 primaries, because he'll have a rebuilding record that none can match.
And speaking of 2016, the candidates are starting to position themselves on both sides. The Democratic side less so, as everyone is waiting to see what Hillary will do. On the Republican side, Marco Rubio was in Iowa last week. Yes, really. And others are talking.
Tonight, most of Congress will leave for the Thanksgiving holiday. (Some are staying for Petraeus tomorrow.) They'll be back after that for 12 more days of hearings, arguing and trying to solve world problems before leaving for the Christmas break. It will be interesting to see if there are a few Republicans who are willing to raise taxes this year on the rich, or whether the tax cuts will expire. And let's not forget the annual appropriations bill.
Like I said, a busy week. What's on YOUR mind?