Prioritizing healthcare overhaul was a mistake: Senate Democrat

This is not a very helpful outreach or strategy..
Schumer’s basic message sounds like this: “We screwed up with ObamaCare, now vote for us again in 2016! And by the way, we will also grow some bigger government right after screwing up.”
And attacking special interests in elections doesn’t seem to fly that well.. it’s negative and plays into the “everything is corrupt” attitude which reeeeally turns voters off and away..
As a message and strategy towards 2016 this is hopeless.. a boring, flat Hillary and a backwards and negative Schumer.. this will probably catapult the Warren strand of communication and focus into broader audiences..
Or maybe drive independents more towards a Romney or Jeb type of figure..

But it’s also depressing.. we need a positive vision and inspiring projects for the future!

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/11/25/us-usa-congress-democrats-idUSKCN0J92C820141125

(Reuters) – The No. 3 Democrat in the Senate said on Tuesday the Democratic Party had made a political mistake by pushing for Obamacare.

New York Senator Charles Schumer, speaking at the National Press Club in Washington, said that after passing a stimulus package to jumpstart the economy during the economic downturn, Democrats “put all of our focus on the wrong problem” by turning to President Barack Obama’s healthcare reform effort, which passed in 2010.

“The plight of uninsured Americans and the hardships caused by unfair insurance company practices certainly needed to be addressed. But it wasn’t the change we were hired to make,” Schumer said, noting that 85 percent of Americans receive healthcare coverage from their employer or the government.

(..) He said the “most important mission” for Democrats in the buildup to the 2016 elections is to embrace government, take on special interests and come up with an achievable policy plan that can be welcomed by the party’s moderate and liberal wings.

 

Why is Elizabeth Warren in Israel

Two posts on Warren today..
But if… she proves to be competent and productive on foreign policy and diplomacy.. things can very quickly change in the landscape..
Her reportedly strong support of Israel would most likely be clever politics and not her personal conviction..

http://www.politico.com/story/2014/11/elizabeth-warren-israel-113141.html

Elizabeth Warren’s trip to Israel and other Middle East countries is likely more an indication of the senator’s fast rise within the Democratic Party than a sign that she is rethinking her political future, longtime Democratic observers of the Massachusetts senator said Monday.

Warren is the lone lawmaker on the trip organized by the State Department and the Senate Banking Committee, of which she is a member. She will be meeting with officials from the Israeli and Jordanian governments, the Palestinian Authority, United Nations groups and USAID. Warren will also meet with troops from Massachusetts serving in the Middle East.

The Jerusalem Post reported that Warren met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday.

Elizabeth Warren’s Winning Ways

She’s doing a lot of things right now, in her small steps towards expanding her outreach and position, and political profile. She’s been very quiet and cautious in her first two years in the Senate, probably just learning the ropes and planning for things later on…
But aligning herself with winners and building alliances with fellow Democrats is a smart thing..

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-lux/elizabeth-warrens-winning_b_6213000.html

Much has been made of Elizabeth Warren being the go-to Democrat in this cycle, being eagerly welcomed in places like West Virginia and Kentucky where few other Democrats were. Elizabeth’s populist message works with both base Democratic activists and voters, and with hard-pressed, white, working-class folks who aren’t real fond of Barack Obama. But here’s the thing about the elections that has been less commented on: In the purple states and tough races where Elizabeth prioritized, or where candidates consciously followed her on message and strategy, Democrats did pretty damn well in what was obviously an overwhelmingly Republican year.

(..) Another top race for Elizabeth, probably number one on her list, was the New Hampshire Senate race. Being New England women Democratic Senators, Shaheen and Elizabeth have been close, and shockingly enough, Elizabeth also had a strong interest in beating Scott Brown — again. So she dived into the race early and often, doing everything she could to help Shaheen with money, groups, lists, etc. And Shaheen followed Elizabeth’s strategy for beating Brown closely, using her research and talking points a great deal. And of all the most competitive, highly targeted Senate races from start to finish, there was only one race Democrats won in 2014: Jeanne Shaheen.

Obama Chooses Confrontation With Republicans

This suddenly got interesting..
GOP has full control over Congress (technically not before Jan 3rd).. and should fix this..
After years of “no” to everything.. their tactics have to change..
Presenting a more concrete alternative..
And maybe Obama aims for Health Care and Immigration as his main domestic legacies, and will fight hard for it..

http://politicalwire.com/2014/11/20/obama-chooses-confrontation-over-immigration/

President Obama “chose confrontation over conciliation on Thursday as he asserted the powers of the Oval Office to reshape the nation’s immigration system and dared members of next year’s Republican-controlled Congress to reverse his actions on behalf of millions of immigrants,” the New York Times reports.

Said Obama: “To those members of Congress who question my authority to make our immigration system work better, or question the wisdom of me acting where Congress has failed, I have one answer: Pass a bill.”

Clinton: No Obama immigration action may have hurt in midterms

Bubba could become very uncontrollable in Hillary’s run for President.. for good and for bad….
The suggested hostility towards the current President might be more outspoken too..
And it doesn’t seem like he’s planning on being a quiet and subservient “first husband” in the WH…

http://www.politico.com/story/2014/11/clinton-no-obama-immigration-action-may-have-hurt-in-midterms-112924.html

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Former President Bill Clinton said he was surprised by the Democrats’ lopsided losses in Senate races in this year’s midterm elections, and he suggested that President Barack Obama’s decision not to sign an executive order on immigration may have played a role in keeping some Hispanic voters at home.

He also said Obama should maximize his pulpit and not give in to being a “lame duck,” setting a high bar by saying he should turn to the budget process to try to push through his agenda in his final two years in the White House and that the president should also try to pass immigration reform. Above all, he said, Obama should try to have “fun” in the job.

World Leaders Snub Putin at G20, Exile Him to ‘Social Siberia’

At times it seems like Russia’s President just wants some attention and to be liked.. and respected.. no matter how much he practices on his "stone face"..

It’s very sad and it creates a lot of damage to Russia.. and unnecessary tensions internationally.. and deaths in Ukraine..

Why doesn’t he try to make a successful and prosperous economy instead.. that would’ve brought him some real respect..

https://news.vice.com/article/world-leaders-snub-putin-at-g20-exile-him-to-social-siberia

Russian President Vladimir Putin was reportedly set to walk out of the G20 summit in Australia a day early after drawing a series of rebukes over Ukraine and threats of further sanctions from Western leaders, but a Kremlin spokesman now says Putin plans to stay.

A member of Putin’s delegation told Reuters that Putin was planning to cut out on a working session Sunday during the second half of the two-day world leaders forum because he had business to attend to in Moscow. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov later denied reports of Putin’s early exit. "This is wrong," Peskov said. "The president is taking part in all the (G20) events."

(..) Later at the summit, Putin received another social blow from Harper as he reached out to shake the Canadian Prime Minister’s hand.

"I guess I’ll shake your hand, but I have only one thing to say to you: You need to get out of Ukraine," Harper said to Putin, according to the prime minister’s spokesman, Jason MacDonald.

(..) Later, as leaders assembled for the "family photo," Putin was placed on the far outer right of the other heads of state, and away from Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who threatened to "shirtfront" rugby tackle the Russian leader last month over MH17.

Elizabeth Warren On New Leadership Position: ‘Nobody’s Clipping My Wings’

Let’s see how this all plays out.. and how her political skills are in navigating this whole thing.. It’s a big platform for her.. but it might also tie her into the establishment.. and other new political games…

In some ways she’s had the privilege of a persistent "one-note" line of attack against banks on behalf of families so far..
Now things will change..

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/11/13/elizabeth-warren-senate-liason_n_6156066.html

WASHINGTON — Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) pushed back Thursday evening against the notion that her new Senate position means that she will be a "liberal liaison" between Democratic leaders and the party’s progressive base.

"I don’t quite understand it," said Warren of the oft-repeated, informal title that’s been used in media reports to describe her new leadership position.

Warren’s elevation was ratified Thursday during a more than three-hour, closed-door meeting, where Democrats elected their new Senate leaders for the next Congress. Warren’s role had not previously been disclosed to the caucus, having only been reported as a possibility by HuffPost the afternoon before. Before the meeting had ended, reporters were being told by sources outside Reid’s office that Warren would be a "liberal liaison," and would additionally hold a policy portfolio.

Attacking the Soviet Union. | Books

Just a small announcement here on Talk & Politics – we’ve recently started a separate blog to write about books and history! Check it out here:
https://bookreviewsandcommentary.wordpress.com

Our current reading is “Stalingrad” by Antony Beevor, from the Eastern Front in Europe in WWII. The numbers and scale of things involved are just staggering.

https://bookreviewsandcommentary.wordpress.com/2014/11/08/attacking-the-soviet-union/

This whole attack on the Soviet Union is still boggling.. also as it seems so poorly thought through, as many German generals pointed out at the time.

The numbers are staggering too, with the Germans sending in over 4 million troops to the Union, divided in three parts. After some struggles in the south the middle part thrust towards Moscow is stalled/diverted for a while – with angry protests from the commanders – and when winter then arrives in November they are all slowly starting to freeze to death.