The House speaker, John A. Boehner of Ohio, striking a conciliatory tone a day after the Republican Party's electoral drubbing, said on Wednesday that he was ready to accept a budget deal that raises federal revenue as long as it is linked to an overhaul of entitlements and a reform of the tax code that closes loopholes, curtails or eliminates deductions and lowers income tax rates.
Mr. Boehner made it clear that his vision for additional revenue includes a tax code that lowers even the top income tax rate from where it is now, 35 percent, not where it would be in January when the Bush-era tax cuts are set to expire — 39.6 percent. At least some of that additional revenue would come from economic growth that he said would be fueled by a simpler tax code.
Um, this was Romney's plan. Lock, stock, and barrel. Cut tax rates across the board. Limit deductions. "Overhaul" (read: gut) entitlements. And dismiss deficit concerns through "dynamic scoring."
If there is one loser in the U.S. election outside the U.S., it is Benjamin Netanyahu – and all of Israel knows it. No one is fooled by his denials that he backed Romney and opposed Obama as demonstratively as he possibly could. The widespread conviction, now that Obama has won four more years in the White House, is that Bibi has endangered Israel's relationship with America in a way that is unprecedented in its recklessness. No Israeli prime minister ever took sides in a U.S. presidential election like Netanyahu just did, and his side lost.If a Chinese premier had attempted to meddle in an American election the way that Netanyahu tried to do, there might be rioting outside of their consulates.
Most American Jews care very much about Israel, of course. But I suspect that there is no small number who are privately pissed off at Israeli condescension towards their American cousins. The "don't marry an American" advertising really irritated a lot of people.
"Forgive and forget" is not exactly in the Jewish tradition. And if Obama engages in some payback, Netanyahu would be foolish to expect American Jews to rally to his support.
Two caveats are necessary in considering these numbers. The first is that all ballots have not been counted, so these numbers will change somewhat as more returns trickle in. (Because the remaining ballots are more likely to be from Democratic-leaning west coast states, it is likely that the Democrats' margin will increase somewhat over time.) The second caveat is that these numbers include several California districts where two members of the same party ran against each other, and they do not include districts where a single candidate ran unopposed. Nevertheless, the fact remains that the nation is very closely divided over which party should control the House, with Democrats appearing to enjoy a slight edge.
The actual partisan breakdown of the 113th Congress will be very different, however. Currently, Republicans enjoy a 233-192 advantage over Democrats, with 10 seats remaining undecided. That means that, in a year when Republicans earned less than half the popular vote, they will control a little under 54 percent of the House even if Democrats run the table on the undecided seats.
There is a simple explanation for how this happened: Republicans won several key state legislatures and governors' mansions in the election cycle before redistricting, and they gerrymandered those states within an inch of their lives. President Obama won Pennsylvania by more than 5 points, but Democrats carried only 5 of the state's 18 congressional seats:
Similar stories played out elsewhere. Obama won Virginia, and Democrats took 3 of 11 House seats. Obama appears very likely to win Florida, but Democrats will, at best, carry 10 of the state's 27 districts.
Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), however, cannot simply thank Republican state lawmakers for enabling him to keep his job. He can also thank the conservatives on the Supreme Court. Partisan gerrymandering exists for one purpose: to cut off the ability of people who disagree with a state's ruling party to influence future elections. It is a a clear violation of the First Amendment, which absolutely prohibits viewpoint discrimination. Yet the Supreme Court abdicated its responsibility to end this discrimination in its 5-4 decision in Vieth v. Jubelirer, where the conservative justices tossed out a lawsuit alleging that Pennsylvania's congressional districts were unconstitutionally drawn to maximize Republican representation in Congress.
Americans voted for a Democratic president, a Democratic Senate, and, barring significant shifts in the vote tally, a Democratic House. Instead, they will get a House majority similar to the one that held the entire nation hostage during last year's debt ceiling hostage crisis. If the American people wanted this to happen, they would have said so at the polls on Tuesday. Instead, Republican state lawmakers took away their right to democratically legitimate leadership — with a big assist from the conservatives on the Supreme Court.
The grownups in the spurned party, on the other hand, faced the day after the election by asking themselves the Hard Questions, like "what aspects of our agenda may have proven unpopular with the electorate?" or "how might we best adjust our message to meet a changing electoral landscape?" Or, if they're the NRO's David Gelertner, they might ask, "Where did all these degenerate communist morans come from? Must be the colleges! They're full of radicals! Let's root out the colleges!" READ MORE »