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Political Strategy Notes

I'm still hoping Harry Reid had a well-hidden good reason for the deal he negotiated. But no one has yet provided any plausible explanations. Meanwhile, Jonathan Krohn's "What the Senate Filibuster Deal Does--and Doesn't Do" at Mother Jones critiques the deal from a left perspective.

At NBC News Michael Isikoff's "Obama campaign gives database of millions of supporters to new advocacy group" provides some insight into what's ahead for Democratic campaign strategy: "Dubbed the "nuclear codes" by campaign aides, the Obama campaign database is widely described as one of the most powerful tools ever developed in American politics. According to published reports, it contains the names of at least 4 million Obama donors - as well as millions of others (the campaign has consistently refused to say how many) compiled from voter registration rolls and other public databases. In addition, the campaign used sophisticated computer programs -- with code names like "Narwhal" -- to collect information through social media: Anybody who contacted the campaign through Facebook had their friends and "likes" downloaded. If they contacted the campaign website through mobile apps, cellphone numbers and address books were downloaded. Computer "cookies" captured Web browsing and online spending habits."

Krugman shreds arguments of austerity freaks on Morning Joe.

Richard Benedetto brings President Obama's 2014 strategy into focus at Real Clear Politics. Calling Obama's 2nd inaugural address "the first speech of the 2014 congressional campaign,"Benedetto's post explains: "His apparent two-year strategy is to work hard to help Democrats win back control of the House of Representatives and use his final two years to build the liberal legacy he outlined in his address -- a legacy that will be near-impossible to achieve as long as the GOP controls the House...But with Democrats in charge of both chambers of Congress in 2015-16, Obama would be transformed from a lame duck to a soaring eagle...By force-feeding legislation that Republicans are likely to find unpalatable -- and portraying that distaste as heartless, mindless, prejudiced and mean-spirited -- Obama can shove them back into the role of naysayers and obstructionists, a role that raises voter trepidation, anger and frustration. It could translate into more Democratic votes next election."

Alex Altman argues persuasively at Time Swampland that the Republicans got creamed in November, not because of their tone, tactics or messaging strategy. It is the substance of their positions on the issues.

ProPublica has a pretty good round-up of "The Best Reporting on What's Wrong with Congress"

At Wonkblog, Ezra Klein's "Republicans think the sequester gives them leverage. They're wrong" offers this interesting observation: "...The sequester doesn't touch Medicaid, Social Security or Pell grants. It exempts most programs for low-income Americans, like food stamps. Veteran's benefits are home free, as are federal retirement benefits. Medicare providers see cuts, but Medicare beneficiaries don't. And fully half of the cuts come from the military -- a huge reduction in defense spending that Democrats couldn't dream about achieving any other way...Given the sequester's disproportionate focus on the military, it's even worse for Republicans."

The Nation's John Nichols has a must-read for Dems: "Three Strategies to Block the Gerrymandering of the Electoral College"

This one is a great loss for progressives -- and an even greater loss for Democrats' hopes for holding the senate. it also underscores the the critical importance of better Democratic candidate recruitment, training and leadership development to hold seats being vacated by venerable incumbents.

Talk about nerve.