William Katz:  Urgent Agenda

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SHORT TAKES ON THE DRIFTING WRECKAGE – AT 9:27 P.M. ET:

WELCOME, STRANGER – President Obama deigned to visit New York today to see the damage done by Hurricane Sandy, giving us the benefit of his empathy, and rubbing shoulders with the oppressed and downtrodden.  Now that the campaigning is over, our wonderful leader had time for the simple folk.  The contrast between the media's assault on George W. Bush (!!) for his handling of Katrina, which actually was reasonably good, and its fawning over Obama for the Sandy botch job, or no job, is stunning.  There is no shame left in the mainstream media.  It's a disgrace.

HILLARY TO SHOW UP – It is announced that Ms. Hillary will show up for hearings on Benghazi, and that they will be public.  I'd imagine that Obama is none too pleased, but can't do much about it.  This has the appearance of Hillary taking matters into her own hands, and protecting her political flank from the Obama White House.  If Obama ordered her to "stand down," it would leak out in five minutes, and he'd look pretty bad.  Hillary is now out for Hillary, with 2016 in mind.

ROMNEY EASED OUT – It took only a few weeks, but Mitt Romney is being shown the door by Republican leaders, who clearly blame him for his own defeat.  Romney, in another gaffe, attributed his defeat to the fact that Obama gave "gifts" to some constituencies, in the form of legislation or services.  That comment, which had an elitist ring to it, did not go down well with a number of major Republicans, who denounced it.  Chief denouncer was Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, who may run for president in 2016.  Jindal has been very harsh on Romney, and on the Republican Party generally, arguing that it must attack its image as the party of rich white men.   Jindal is very sharp, a great vote getter, and I'm afraid he has a point.

DIDN'T ANY OF THEIR VOTERS NOTICE? – Today's depressing jobless-claims figures contained some interesting nuggets – such as the fact that the highest number of new claims came from Ohio and Pennsylvania, two states whose voters dutifully went to the polls and helped elect Barack Obama.  It is simply remarkable how people voted against their own basic interests.  Will we have buyer's remorse coming?  I'm not sure.  For many voters, Obama is a cultural figure, a symbol.  I'm not sure they saw beyond that.  Please note that the 2014 Congressional elections are now less than two years away.  Maybe Ohio and Pennsylvania, along with much of the rest of the country, will wake up in time.

November 15, 2012