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The lead editorial in Raleigh’s News & Observer hits the nail on the head this morning when it says the following about the state of the U.S. economy:

“The recovery from the Great Recession appears to be getting stronger on the eve of Christmas. Alas, politics has dampened the enthusiasm of some Scrooges, President Obama’s critics, who can’t take “yes” for an answer.

As one liberal commentator noted, if this were the second year of a Mitt Romney presidency instead of the sixth year under President Obama, there would be parades in the streets and praise for the president from some of Obama’s perennial critics.

But the facts are the facts. And they’re mostly good.

In November, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated, there were 321,000 jobs created, an astounding number. Unemployment is down. The gross domestic product grew at 5 percent, on an annual pace, in the third quarter of this year, the biggest advance since the third quarter of 2003. Consumer and business spending are up.

And as Americans take off on their holiday travels, they’ll see lower gas prices.

And by the way: When the president was formulating the Affordable Care Act, Republicans predicted catastrophic consequences for the economy, with a federal deficit certain to explode. The deficit is down.”

The recovery has started to spread to North Carolina too, of course, and while things have a LONG way to go, there is cause for optimism. As was noted in this story earlier this month, however, the folks on Right-Wing Avenue have taken things to laughable extremes with their absurd attempt to blame every bad thing in the state economy on President Obama and attribute every improvement to Governor McCrory. As we noted in December: Read More

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Yesterday it was the CEO of one of the nation’s largest fast food chains and today it’s Mr. 47% —  the 2012 Republican presidential nominee. As the Los Angeles Times reports:

“Former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney on Friday called for an increase in the federal minimum wage, splitting with party leaders and some top business groups on what’s expected to a major issue in this year’s midterm elections.

‘I … part company with many of the conservatives of my party on the issue of the minimum wage,’ he said in an interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

‘I think we ought to raise it because, frankly, our party is all about more jobs and better pay, and I think communicating that is important to us,’ he said.

It will be fascinating to see if Republican officials choose to follow the lead of their former party standard bearer (and former far right presidential candidate Rick Santorum — who also endorsed a hike) or instead remain true to the Koch Brothers and the far right think tanks that question even the existence of the minimum wage. North Carolina House Speaker and U.S. Senate candidate Thom Tillis seems to have made his bed with the latter camp for now. Stay tuned.

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Somehow I recently got on to an email list for national Libertarian Party presidential candidate Gary Johnson and yesterday I received a fundraising message from the campaign that indicates there is a rather nasty split on the American political right.

This is an excerpt from the message:

“Friends,

Your voting rights are under attack – by Mitt Romney and the national Republicans. 

Mitt Romney doesn’t want Gov. Gary Johnson on the ballot.  It’s just that simple.  Read More

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As this morning’s edition of the Weekly Briefing argues, Americans have much to learn from other countries in a variety of areas and healthcare is one of the most obvious. Happily, there are some small signs that maybe — just maybe — this truth is beginning to dawn on political leaders of both parties.

President Obama, of course, has made repeated allusions throughout the years to the need for America to do a better job of matching the performance of other nations when it comes to providing healthcare to the many while controlling costs much more effectively. 

Now comes word that, yesterday, his chief opponent, Mitt Romney, is embracing a similar argument. According to this article in the Washington Post, Romney heaped praise on Israel’s heavily regulated health care system — some might even call it “socialized” — for its success in controlling costs. 

Could it be that our nation’s leading politicians are finally finding some common ground on this critical issue?  It seems certain that many will portray Romney’s comments as a gaffe, but let’s fervently hope that he meant what he said and that it opens to door to further dialogue across the political spectrum on this critical issue. 

 

 

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So, how does this work? How does the man announced just three-plus months ago as the Chairman of Newt Gingrich’s presidential campaign in North Carolina endorse Mitt Romney?

I mean talk about loyalty. You’d think the guy would have the decency to at least wait a couple of weeks until after his man is waxed in the primary.

Man, ol’ Newt must really inspire a lot of passionate devotion and commitment in his followers.