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Blog Profile / The Plum Line

Filed Under:Politics / US Politics
Posts on Regator:5130
Posts / Week:26
Archived Since:April 20, 2011

Blog Post Archive

Morning Plum: Obama, unbound, puts his stamp on 2016

For years, progressives have sharply criticized President Obama for shaping major decisions around the idea that scaling back his ambitions would ultimately secure the GOP cooperation he had long sought. But the GOP takeover of Congress has effectively freed Obama from that illusion, leaving him little choice other than to be as aggressive and ambitious […]

Happy Hour Roundup

The administration’s decision to normalize relations with Cuba could have substantial political effects: The startling announcement by President Obama that the United States and Cuba will restore full diplomatic relations could complicate one of the most enduring fault lines in American politics and reshape the fight to win the vital battleground state of Florida. […]

On Cuba, it’s Hillary Clinton versus Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio

President Obama’s historic announcement that his administration will pursue normalization of relations with Cuba — and his suggestion that he will ask Congress to lift the embargo — all but ensures that the Cuba question will become another issue around which Hillary Clinton and the GOP 2016 presidential hopefuls square off, with Clinton embracing the […]

Who will object to the biggest change in U.S.-Cuba relations in decades?

In a few moments, President Obama will speak to reporters about the big change in U.S. policy towards Cuba that we learned about this morning. Here’s a little bit of what we know so far: Cuba has freed American contractor Alan Gross after five years in custody as part of a prisoner swap that could […]

Morning Plum: Ted Cruz’s call to arms carries long-term risks for GOP

Ted Cruz and other conservatives are enraged by what they see as the GOP leadership’s cave in the face of President Obama’s supposed lawlessness on deportations, and they are insisting the GOP mount an epic struggle against it next year. Republican leaders have been gamely promising such a struggle, but it doesn’t appear they want […]

Happy Hour Roundup

Ian Millhiser, writing about the first ruling on Obama’s executive action on deportations, brings the news of what one partisan judge can accomplish if motivated highly enough: In an extraordinary opinion that transforms a routine sentencing matter into a vehicle to strike down a politically controversial policy, a George W. Bush-appointed judge in Pennsylvania […]

Congress should act to prevent the United States from torturing again

In the wake of the Senate torture report’s release, Senator Ron Wyden — a leading critic of torture and other national security overreach — told Chuck Todd on Sunday that he would introduce a bill next year designed to ensure that the U.S. government never tortures again. This generated almost no discussion, perhaps signaling that […]

Jeb Bush may run for president. Good.

Congratulations, America: Jeb Bush is running for president! Or rather, he’s moving actively in that direction. As he announced on Facebook this morning, over Thanksgiving he spent some time with his family, eating and watching football. “We also talked about the future of our nation. As a result of these conversations and thoughtful consideration of […]

Morning Plum: A GOP bait-and-switch on Obamacare

The governor of Tennessee has announced that he will try to move forward with a “conservative” version of the Medicaid expansion in his state. While he faces a GOP legislature hostile to using Obamacare to expand health care to poor people, there is now talk of the expansion moving forward in states like Utah, Wyoming, […]

Happy Hour Roundup

The brief spasm of productivity on Capitol Hill continues: Vivek Murthy is expected to be confirmed Monday as the nation’s surgeon general, months after the National Rifle Association and its allies opposed him for his support of gun-control laws. Senate Democrats are expected to bring nearly all of the votes for Murthy, who would […]

Why it matters that Dick Cheney still can’t define torture

When we learned late last week that Dick Cheney would appear on Meet the Press to discuss the Senate Intelligence Committee’s torture report, I wrote this post suggesting some questions Cheney ought to be asked, the first of which is, “What is your definition of torture?” Why is this question so important? Because torture advocates […]

Why the ‘Elizabeth Warren for president’ chatter will continue

Senator Elizabeth Warren’s dramatic stand against the provision in the budget deal weakening Wall Street reform has drawn attention to her rising clout as a kind of spokesperson for the left wing of the Democratic Party — which, unsurprisingly, has renewed the chatter about whether she’ll run for president. Warren has denied countless times that […]

Morning Plum: How divided are the Democrats?

Over the weekend, the Senate passed the sweeping “cromnibus” bill funding the government for most of the year. Liberal Democrats failed to block the measure that has created all the controversy, the provision banning federally insured financial institutions from dealing in exotic swaps. The move weakens financial reform. More than 20 Senate Dems — led […]

Happy Hour Roundup

It ain’t over ’till it’s over: The U.S. Senate has until late Saturday night to complete work on a $1.1 trillion spending package to keep most government agencies operating through next summer. The spending agreement could be passed and sent to President Obama as early as late Friday, but that would require consent from […]

Keep talking about climate change, Democrats

Yale University has funded an interesting new poll that goes deep into Americans’ attitudes towards climate change. Hopefully, its findings will encourage Democrats to talk as much as possible about the issue. The key findings are that Americans believe by 56-20 that global warming is happening; 72 percent are very or moderately worried about it; […]

Morning Plum: The good and the bad in the big budget deal

So Congress managed to legislate last night, passing at the last minute a sprawling bill funding the government through the fiscal year, averting a government shutdown and putting off a fight over immigration until 2015. The bill was a loss of sorts for the bases on both sides. Conservatives didn’t get the scorched earth battle […]

Happy Hour Roundup

The budget bill is looking very uncertain: A sweeping bill to fund most of the federal government, change campaign finance laws and make it harder for the District of Columbia to legalize marijuana faces a close vote Thursday, even as Congress plans to give itself more time to avert a government shutdown and complete […]

Obama administration should be fully transparent about Bush-era torture

The horrific revelations contained in the Senate report into Bush-era torture has revived interest in one of President Obama’s most momentous decisions: The decision not to prosecute torturers and/or the architects of the program itself. Right or wrong, that decision delayed an accounting into the true nature and extent of the torture that did take […]

Five questions Chuck Todd should ask Dick Cheney on Sunday

This Sunday, Dick Cheney will be interviewed by Chuck Todd on Meet the Press. If the former vice president’s previous appearances on that program and others are any indication, he will likely say things that are untrue, and say them with that quiet yet firm Cheneyesque confidence that makes it clear that anyone who disagrees […]

Morning Plum: Conservatives are right. GOP is caving in face of Obama ‘tyranny.’

Despite some last minute Beltway theatrics, it seems likely that Congress will approve a bill funding most of the government for a year, while only funding the Department of Homeland Security (which implements immigration enforcement) through February. This move by GOP leaders is meant to persuade conservatives that really, truly, by golly, Republicans will take […]

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