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Political Strategy Notes

At The Plum Line, Greg Sargent's "Business leaders to GOP: No more debt limit hostage taking!" pinpoints what may be the Democrats most powerful leverage in the negotiations ahead.

Class consciousness seems to be rising quickly in Great Britain, where 60 percent now self i.d. themselves as "working class," compared to 24 percent in 2011, reports Gaby Hinsliff in The Guardian."...it's the findings on class that should really give Labour heart. For they suggest serious trouble in the middle - a fear that life is going backwards for many natural Conservative voters in flagrant breach of the age-old Tory promise that hard work will be rewarded."

As Sen. Jay Rockefeller prepares to retire, at NPR.org Greg Henderson notes an interesting fact about West Virginia, which is a red state in presidential elections: "Both senators, the state's governor and one of its three members of the House are Democrats. And the state that produced legendary Democratic Sen. Robert Byrd (who brought the state "billions of dollars for highways, federal offices, research institutes and dams," as The New York Times noted in its 2010 obituary) hasn't elected a Republican senator since the 1950s."

The "No Labels" crowd is at it again. This time it's another WV senator, Sen Joe Manchin and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman singing bipartisan kumbaya in the Washington Post opinion section. In the comments section following the article, DWSouthern adds "Democrats have been willing to negotiate all along. Now all you two dreamers need to do is get about 200 more Republicans (you now have 10) in the House to end gridlock and get the government working again. Lots of luck when the goal of Republicans has been to make the government dysfunction and blame it on Obama. The only solution to the problem is to remove about 100 or so Republican from the House in the next election."

For an authentic bipartisan act of significance by a Republican U.S. Senator, however, read yesterday's New York Times editorial, "One Republican Steps Forward," which gives Sen. Lisa Murkowski well-deserved praise on an important issue: "Senator Lisa Murkowski, Republican of Alaska, broke through the partisan wall to propose a badly needed mandate for transparency by the growing army of unrestricted, unidentified donors who underwrite attack ads and other stealth tactics that have so disfigured American politics." The measure would require every organization that gives more than $500 to disclose its donors.

On the weapons-of-domestic-mass-destruction issue, however, there is only one Republican providing gutsy leadership.

Here we go again with the comprehensive, big-package vs. piecemeal reform debate, this time with respect to gun control, well-reported here by WaPo's Sean Sullivan. I get the political reasons why big-package always seems to win out as a strategic option, regardless of the issue. But just once, I'd like to see a fast-track, piecemeal reform strategy put into play, nailing the low-hanging fruit and pealing away the bogus arguments against needed reforms that usually get watered down in the comprehensive package.

Also at The Post, John Sides considers "How congressional dysfunction could hurt House Republicans." As Klein explains: "...The particular problem for House Republicans is this: when Congress is unpopular, voters don't punish all House incumbents. Instead, they direct their dissatisfaction primarily at majority-party House incumbents. So argue political scientists David Jones and Monika McDermott in their book (see also this article). In the article, Jones finds that a 10-point decrease in approval costs majority-party House incumbents 4 points at the poll. This effect is larger in swing districts and has been getting larger over time, as the parties have polarized..."

See also David Lauter's L.A. Times article, "Washington stalemates hurting Republicans most, polls indicate," which provides a good round-up of the latest data on the topic.

At The Daily Beast Bob Shrum ably sums up the nitty-gritty of the GOP's big problem --- and the Democrat's advantage: "And today, the GOP is the party that won't compromise; the party that threatens economic chaos; the anti-Medicare, anti-Social Security, anti-women, anti-Hispanic, anti-gay, anti-young party. There's no future in that."