Huffpost Politics

HUFFPOST HILL - GOP Wants Disabled People To Stop Being Such Takers

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Vogue editor Anna Wintour might be appointed ambassador to the United Kingdom or France, meaning the most Cosmo's editor can reasonably hope for is a posting in Kyrgyzstan or Moldova. Senate Republicans defeated ratification of a treaty urging nations to grant disabled people the same rights as non-disabled people because... um... er... uh... John Galt? And half of all Republicans think ACORN, a defunct organization, helped President Obama steal the election. What's worse is that no one will ever know about all the canvassing work the American Temperance Society did on behalf of Mitt Romney. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Tuesday, December 4th, 2012:

HANDICRAP: SENATE GOP DEFEATS TREATY ON DISABILITIES BECAUSE WHEELCHAIRS ARE JUST ROLLING MORAL HAZARDS - You know election season is over when Congress gets back to defeating measures that couldn't sound any more positive if they included a clause about teacup piglets and sunshine. AP: "Led by Republican opposition, the Senate on Tuesday rejected a United Nations treaty on the rights of the disabled that is modeled after the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act. With 38 Republicans casting 'no' votes, the 61-38 vote fell five short of the two-thirds majority needed to ratify a treaty. The vote took place in an unusually solemn atmosphere, with senators sitting at their desks rather than milling around the podium. Former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole, looking frail and in a wheelchair, was in the chamber to support the treaty. The treaty, already signed by 155 nations and ratified by 126 countries, including Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia, states that nations should strive to assure that the disabled enjoy the same rights and fundamental freedoms as their fellow citizens. Republicans objected to taking up a treaty during the lame-duck session of the Congress and warned that the treaty could pose a threat to U.S. national sovereignty." [HuffPost]

SOCIAL SECURITY, WE HARDLY KNEW YE - Top Democrats in Congress on Tuesday signaled their willingness to consider cuts to social insurance programs as part of a broader budget deal, but members of the party seemed divided on whether Social Security should be included in negotiations. Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), the second-highest ranking Democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives, said Tuesday that his party shouldn't rule out things like raising Medicare's eligibility age and reducing future cost-of-living increases for Social Security recipients. "They've been on the table for some period of time," Hoyer said. "That does not mean that I'd be prepared to adopt them now, but they're clearly, I think, on the table." But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has been adamantly opposed to including Social Security in a fiscal cliff deal. On Tuesday, when a reporter said Reid had been party to failed "Grand Bargain" negotiations in 2011 that included the chained CPI, Reid cut the question off. "No. Don't say that I was willing to," Reid said. "I've never been part of that." [HuffPost]

Arianna met with the president today, though she didn't give him the Luminous Star (tm) Celebration Edible Arrangement we kept urging her to bring. Sad face: "President Barack Obama met with Rachel Maddow, Al Sharpton and other 'influential progressives' on Tuesday as part of his campaign to sell the public on the need to extend the Bush middle-class tax cuts. White House deputy press secretary Josh Earnest confirmed the meeting took place. It wasn't listed on Obama's schedule... Arianna Huffington, president and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post Media Group, was also in the meeting." [HuffPost's Jen Bendery]

THINGS GET REAL AT 'FIX THE DEBT' PANEL - On the HuffPost Hill scale of confrontations, this one falls somewhere between "Joe Miller security guard and reporter" and "Ukrainian Parliament fight." Paul Blumenthal and Christina Wilkie: "A conservative scholar, Edmund F. Haislmaier, attacked a nonprofit employee Tuesday morning... The incident, at the Grand Hyatt Hotel downtown, occurred after Burke Stansbury, of the Seattle-based nonprofit Campaign for Community Change, and about 20 other progressive activists interrupted a speech by Republican Sen. Rob Portman (Ohio) to encourage the senator to protect Social Security and Medicare in fiscal cliff negotiations. Stansbury told The Huffington Post that Haislmaier followed him and his group out of the conference room, where video shows Haislmeier screaming, 'No! No! No no no no! No! Nonono! No! I was invited on this panel ... No no no no! No! These people, these people are screwing things up for my kids!'" [HuffPost]

BEHIND THE MOVEON.ORG MELTDOWN - With Amanda Terkel: ", one of the most influential liberal organizations in Washington, is dramatically reorienting its approach to politics, people inside and outside the organization tell The Huffington Post. Interviews with current and former officials indicate that the grassroots powerhouse will place less emphasis on what's known in Washington as the inside game, and cede large elements of its strategic planning directly to its 7-million-plus members. Advocates of the radical new approach hope that it will increase MoveOn's power exponentially, by harnessing the energy and talent of its activist base, allowing the group to break free of Washington dogma and discover new ways to affect change. Skeptics worry that MoveOn's decision is a consequence of failed leadership and irresponsibly relinquishes much of its power in Washington, creating a vacuum which no obvious progressive organization can move to fill. The changes are accompanied by roughly 15 layoffs and staff departures. Justin Ruben, the organization's executive director, who recently met with President Obama among a group of progressive leaders, is removing himself from day to day operational control, and will become board president. Anna Galland will take over as executive director in January." Full story on HuffPost soon.

PARANOID SELF-LOATHING GOP LOBBYIST ASSESSES WARREN'S COMMITTEE PLACEMENT - HuffPost HIll's Paranoid Self-Loathing GOP Lobbyist, who has been battling a particularly bad case of the self-loathings after no lawmaker replied to his macaroni and glitter portraits of Dennis Hastert, sends us his thoughts on the committee's upcoming roster. "The banking lobby will beat her every day, and pretend it was hard," PSLGOPL writes. "If Reid would have left Brown and put on Warren, Tammy Baldwin and that new one from Hawaii, then they've got a problem. But the committee has the one Democrat who wants to be a Republican, Manchin, and a communist, Warren. Manchin nullifies her. Bankers win. They always win." Thanks, PSLGOPL!

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - The guy Rick Scott tapped to run the stingiest state unemployment insurance program in America collected unemployment for nearly two years while traveling around Europe after his bank laid him off in 2009. After the Florida Current started asking how such a well-off guy could be such a loafer, and whether there was something weird about him overseeing a notoriously mean state unemployment system, the guy resigned. No word on whether he'll sign up for the reading and math tests his former agency now requires unemployed people to take in order to be eligible for benefits.

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WARREN LANDS SPOT ON BANKING COMMITTEE - You'll want to make sure that all your grain crops are rerouted to Comrade Procurer General Geithner's Agriculture Parity Commission and your able-bodied children immediately sent to Comrade Secretary Duncan's Reeducation Commune. Why? Senator-elect Elizabeth Warren will be tapped to serve on the Banking Committee, according to four sources familiar with the situation. It's a victory for progressives who battled to win her a seat on the panel that oversees the implementation of Dodd-Frank and other banking regulations. Sources also told HuffPost that Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) will be named to the panel. Warren's ascension to the panel gives her influence over regulators and the industry that non-panel members don't enjoy. [HuffPost]

HOUSE REPUBLICANS HAVING A WEE BIT OF A TIFF - Amanda Terkel: "Conservative groups are furious with GOP leadership for stripping several lawmakers of spots on powerful committees after it was deemed that they were not toeing the party line. On Monday, the Republican Steering Committee, which is chaired by House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), voted to remove Reps. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) and Tim Huelskamp (R-Kansas) from the House Budget Commtitee. Reps. David Schweikert (R-Ariz.) and Walter Jones (R-N.C.) lost their positions on the Financial Services Committee. The four members are known for occasionally bucking leadership and voting against Boehner's wishes. Amash, Huelskamp and Schweikert are popular with the conservative movement, while Jones has made a name for himself by speaking out against U.S. involvement in Afghanistan...In an email blast on Tuesday, the Tea Party group FreedomWorks told its members to call Boehner's office and tell him to 'stop purging fiscal conservatives,' highlighting the ouster of Amash, Huelskamp and Schweikert...The Club for Growth called the lawmakers' reassignments 'a consequence of their principled stands on behalf of pro-growth policies, often bringing them in conflict with the leadership of their own party.'" [HuffPost]

MICHAEL BENNET TAPPED TO HEAD DSCC - AP: "Sen. Michael Bennet will chair the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. That from a committee announcement Tuesday. Bennet is a soft-spoken centrist who defied the Republican wave in 2010 and won re-election in a bitter campaign run by the political strategist who is now the DSCC's executive director. Bennet will be responsible for raising money and helping draw up national strategy for Democratic senators. Bennet will also continue to serve in the Senate. Twenty Democrats are up for re-election in 2014, while 13 Republicans are up. The Democrats include Colorado's senior senator, Mark Udall." [AP]

OBAMA SHOWS A LITTLE LEEWAY IN FIRST POST-ELECTION INTERVIEW - Sam Stein: "In his first post-election interview, President Barack Obama reiterated his demand that congressional Republicans agree to a deficit reduction plan that includes raising high-end tax rates, while adding that he didn't expect to get all of his priorities passed either. But in the sit-down with Bloomberg News' Julianna Goldman, Obama did not directly state whether he would demand that those rates on top earners be raised to their 2000 level of 39.6 percent, or somewhere between that and their current level of 35 percent. 'We are not going to be able to come up with comprehensive tax reform package that gets it all done just in the next two weeks,' Obama said. 'We are not going to be able to come up with necessarily a comprehensive entitlement reform package that gets it all done in the next two weeks. When you look at what Ronald Reagan did back in 1986 working with Bill Bradley and others, that was a year-and-a-half process ... Let's essentially put a down payment on taxes. Let's let taxes on upper-income folks go up.'" [HuffPost]

Good luck with that modernization, GOP! "49% of GOP voters nationally say they think that ACORN stole the election for President Obama. We found that 52% of Republicans thought that ACORN stole the 2008 election for Obama, so this is a modest decline, but perhaps smaller than might have been expected given that ACORN doesn't exist anymore." [PPP]

FISCAL CLIFF POLL: REPUBLICANS TO TAKE BLAME - So when unemployed people start trapping squirrels for food and old people start phlebotomizing richer old people who take the same medicine, you can say goodbye to New England Republicans. Ariel Edwards-Levy: "Republicans in Congress could shoulder most of the blame for failed fiscal cliff negotiations, according to a Washington Post/Pew Poll released Tuesday. A 53 percent majority of Americans said congressional Republicans would be more to blame if leaders failed to hammer out a deal, while just 27 percent would mostly blame President Barack Obama. While Democrats were the most likely to fault the GOP, about half of independents and 19 percent of Republicans also said they'd blame congressional Republicans...Polling on the issue has consistently shown that most Americans expect both sides to compromise, but that few hold out high hopes. A CNN survey found that two-thirds expect elected officials to behave 'like spoiled children' in the negotiations." [HuffPost]

WE HAVE JUST THE SOLUTION FOR THIS: LOBBYISTS - Chris Frates: "Frustrated by a White House that's winning the fiscal cliff messaging war, senior aides to House Republican Whip Kevin McCarthy assembled some of K Street's top GOP communicators for a Monday briefing and brainstorming session to turn the tide, according to multiple sources inside the room. Tim Berry, McCarthy's chief of staff, told the group of eight GOP message mavens that the White House is not seriously engaged in talks with House Republicans, but is still successfully painting them as the obstructionists. 'One of the things that was said was that the White House is winning right now and we've got to turn that back around because we do want a deal," said a meeting participant.'" Gosh, it's almost as if a majority of Americans supports higher taxes on the rich. [National Journal]

Today in "lawmaker potentially urinating in public": "Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) was arrested in August for public intoxication, according to Virginia court records and a Ryan spokesman. The misdemeanor case was dismissed Tuesday by a court in Rockbridge County, Va. Ryan spokesman Pat Lowry confirmed the arrest and dismissal. Lowry said Ryan was in town for a staff wedding...He has reportedly been considering a run for governor in 2014, when Gov. John Kasich (R) will be up for a second term. He said in November that he would decide in the next few months whether to pursue higher office." [WaPo]

Mitt Romney went shopping at Costco and decided to wear Wayfarers and a bro-ish SoCal baseball cap.

ASHLEY JUDD MULLING KENTUCKY SENATE BID - Ashley Judd -- who you may know as the sister of Wynonna, or as that person who starred in "Someone Like You" which you watched on an airplane and enjoyed more than you'd like to admit -- is seriously considering a run, Politico reports: "The Hollywood movie star and eighth-generation Kentuckian is seriously exploring a 2014 run for the Senate to take on the powerful Republican leader, four people familiar with the matter tell POLITICO. In recent weeks, Judd has spoken with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) about the possibility of a run, has discussed a potential bid with a Democratic pollster and has begun to conduct opposition research on herself to see where she’s most vulnerable in the Bluegrass State, sources say. Whether Judd jumps into the race remains far from certain. She’s reportedly also weighing whether to wait until 2016 to instead take on freshman Sen. Rand Paul, sources say." [Politico]

Cold, snobbish person who is disgusted by most Americans might represent America abroad, sources say. Bloomerg: "President Barack Obama is considering nominating Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of Vogue, as his next ambassador to either the U.K. or France as he looks to reward his biggest fundraisers with embassies never out of fashion, according to two people familiar with the matter. Wintour, 63, may have some competition for the London posting; Matthew Barzun, finance chairman of Obama’s presidential campaign, also is interested in the job, officially known as ambassador to the Court of St. James’s, said the people, who requested anonymity when discussing possible personnel moves." [Boomberg]

DAVID PETRAEUS: THE FOX NEWS CANDIDATE - Bob Woodward: "[I]n spring 2011, [Fox News Chairma Roger]Ailes asked a Fox News analyst headed to Afghanistan to pass on his thoughts to Petraeus, who was then the commander of U.S. and coalition forces there. Petraeus, Ailes advised, should turn down an expected offer from President Obama to become CIA director and accept nothing less than the chairmanship of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the top military post. If Obama did not offer the Joint Chiefs post, Petraeus should resign from the military and run for president, Ailes suggested. The Fox News chairman's message was delivered to Petraeus by Kathleen T. McFarland, a Fox News national security analyst and former national security and Pentagon aide in three Republican administrations. She did so at the end of a 90-minute, unfiltered conversation with Petraeus that touched on the general's future, his relationship with the media and his political aspirations -- or lack thereof. The Washington Post has obtained a digital recording from the meeting, which took place in Petraeus's office in Kabul... At one point, McFarland and Petraeus spoke about the possibility that Rupert Murdoch, the head of News Corp., which owns Fox News, would “bankroll” the campaign. 'Rupert's after me as well,' Petraeus told McFarland...'My wife would divorce me,' he added. 'And I love my wife. . . . We have a beautiful house.' Both Petraeus and McFarland laughed." [WaPo]

Though the prospect of Mayor Hillary Clinton would no doubt gift the world four to eight years of amazing cringe-inducing Post headlines, it will not be. NYT: "Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has long struggled to imagine a successor with the combination of star power, experience and grit to fill his shoes. But not long ago, he was struck by an inspiration: Hillary Rodham Clinton, the retiring secretary of state. In a phone call confirmed by three people, Mr. Bloomberg encouraged Mrs. Clinton to consider entering the 2013 mayor’s race, trading international diplomacy for municipal management on the grandest scale. She would, he suggested, be a perfect fit...During their conversation, Mrs. Clinton left little room for doubt: she was not interested in seeking the mayoralty, people briefed on the call said." [NYT]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Cat and dog are fed by a crow.

R.I.P. ASTRONAUT SPIDER - HuffPost DC: "Nefertiti, the jumping spider who traveled through outer space and returned to Earth to live out her days in the nation's capital, has died." [HuffPost]

YO-YO MA HEADS TO ANACOSTIA - HuffPost DC: "A ticket to see Yo-Yo Ma at the Kennedy Center on Monday night started at $50 and went up to $175. But a few lucky D.C. elementary school students had a free private lesson with the world famous cellist on Tuesday." [HuffPost]


- "The Dark Knight Rises," an honest trailer. []

- You will never see candy as intensely made as it is prepared by these Japanese men. []

- Ten parlor bets you will always win, just make sure you have a piece of string and/or ten pennies handy. []

- Have you just been dying to see thousands of teddy bears thrown onto a hockey rink during a match? at long last, your time has arrived. []

- We all had a very difficult time recovering from this admittedly lowbrow video of a guy trying to serve Steve-O food while singing karaoke and being given mild electrical shocks. Sorry, we know it's awful. []

- There is nothing comforting about the creepiest Santa dolls. []

- The best questions from #askpontifex, a Twitter conversation with His Holiness The Pope ("Would you rather fight 1000 duck sized horses or a horse sized duck?") []


@pourmecoffee: Guess Ailes just yells crazy orders all day, "Send someone to ask Petraeus to run! Mate an eagle with a bat! Make me a flag of human skin!"

@bencjacobs: People are making a big deal about Tim Ryan but isn't getting arrested for public intoxication likely politically advantageous in Ohio?

@indecision: You can tell the war on Christmas is real because like with most wars, after a few years, Americans stopped caring about it.



6:00 pm: Susan Collins celebrates her birthday in the most American way possible: With champagne, cupcakes and people writing her checks for thousands of dollars. [Sonoma Restaurant and Wine Bar, 223 Pennsylvania Ave SE]


12:00 pm: We're not entirely sure what a "Maine Christmas in Washington" entails -- perhaps a lot of funny accents and stew -- but you can find out for yourself at Mike Michaud's annual holiday fete. [8 E Street SE]

12:30 pm: Lisa Murkowski attends a lunch fundraiser so next time you won't have to write in M-U-R-K-O-W-S-K-I. [Johnny's Half Shell, 400 North Capitol Street NW]

7:00 pm: Saxby Chambliss, the Senate's most Saxbiest member, would really appreciate his colleague's support when he's primaried in a year. He raises money for his leadership PAC, Republican Majority Fund. [Ruth's Chris Steak House, 724 9th Street NW]

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