Tales from the Trail

Rising above politics … in Washington

RTXVGWL_Comp1-150x150President Barack Obama seems to want to rise above politics in the tax debate. Good luck with that.

When Obama announced the White House’s tentative tax deal with congressional Republicans, he said he had agreed to compromise rather than “play politics” at a time when Americans want problems solved.

The president gave every impression of bowing to the verdict that voters delivered on Nov. 2, when they evicted so many Democrats from their lodgings in the House of Representatives and handed the time-share keys to the Republicans.

But whether voters are grateful enough to reward Obama’s thoughtfulness in 2012 is another story.

Many Democratic voters are likely to be aghast at his willingness to accept continued tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires.

Obama: “I don’t think about Sarah Palin”

President Barack Obama says he’s focusing on his job and not thinking about whether he might be going head-to-head with Sarah Palin when he’s up for re-election in  2012.

“I don’t speculate on what’s going to happen two years from now,” Obama told ABC’s Barbara Walters in an interview taped  Tuesday at the White House.

“You will not tell me that you think you can beat Sarah Palin?” Walters asked.

Barbara Bush says Sarah Palin should stay in Alaska

barbaraFormer President George W. Bush has carefully steered around the subject of Sarah Palin during interviews about his memoir. But his mother, Barbara Bush, aka the “Silver Fox,” is showing no restraint.

“I sat next to her once,” Mrs. Bush told CNN’s “Larry King Live” in an interview that also included her husband, former President George H.W. Bush. “Thought she was beautiful. And I think she’s very happy in Alaska — and I hope she’ll stay there.”

Palin is weighing a run for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination,telling ABC’s Barbara Walters last week that she thinks she could defeat President Barack Obama. She has a book, “America by Heart,” coming out Tuesday and is starring in a reality TV show, “Sarah Palin’s Alaska.”

How did Murkowski win? Go figure

RTR2FWVX_Comp-150x150Lisa Murkowski is the first to win a write-in campaign for the U.S. Senate in more than half a century. But that’s not the important part.

The Alaska Republican is also a moderate who sounds determined to defy the hardline GOP  ‘defeat Obama’ drumbeat in Congress and the uncompromising politics of the Tea Party.

Why? Because, she says, that’s what the general election voters who enabled her to triumph over the Tea Party – and her home-state nemesis Sarah Palin – want her to do.

Will she? Won’t she? Palin’s still a maybe

OBAMA/Republican celebrity, best-selling author, reality TV star and self-proclaimed mama grizzly Sarah Palin is thinking about adding another title to her ever-growing resume: U.S. president.

Not exactly news, except that the forthcoming issue of the New York Times Magazine says she’s now thinking seriously, right down to the need for new advisers and the means to prove herself on the issues.

Palin, whose titles also include 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee and former Alaska governor, acknowledges that much in an interview with the magazine, according to a preview published by Politico.

Murkowski rates write-in campaign courageous or crazy

“Political courage or just plain crazy.”

That’s the explanation Alaska Republican Lisa Murkowski gives for why, against her party’s wishes, she waged a write-in campaign to hang on to her U.S. Senate seat.lisa

The ballots are still being counted but Murkowski looks set to make history as the first senator to be elected in a write-in campaign since Strom Thurmond in 1954.

“This is a whole new world for me and a whole new world for my colleagues,” Murkowski said in an interview with Katie Couric on CBS on Monday.

Washington Extra – Northern Exposure

Strange characters, quirky storylines and weird happenings out in Alaska.

Anyone hoping for a remake of Northern Exposure would have been disappointed by Sarah Palin’s Alaska, her new television series that aired last night and delivered a much straighter diet of “family adventure” and “flippin’ fun.”sarah3

The reality show, which drew a record five million viewers to TLC, showed the human side of a politician who is among the most polarizing in American politics today. It is the kind of positive media exposure money can’t buy, and got everyone talking again this morning about whether the former vice presidential nominee will run for the top job in 2012.

Washington Extra is not taking a position on that question. But after watching some of the shots of Alaska, I know where we are planning our next family vacation in 2011.

Washington Extra – The elections are over, time to start campaigning

The final result of the mid-term elections is not even in yet, but it’s never too early to start the campaign for the White House in 2012. Former First Lady Nancy Reagan invited Republican candidates to take part in the first presidential debate, to be held next spring at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in California.debate

There are plenty of potential candidates, including Mitt Romney, Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty and even former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. Then there’s Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels and South Dakota Senator  John Thune. And of course, if no one suitable throws their hat in the ring, Sarah Palin has offered to step up to the plate. Honestly, spring seems such a long time to wait.

Finally, a nod to the latest twist in the post-Cold War spy drama, with the unmasking of a Russian double agent who betrayed a Russian spy ring in the United States in June before defecting. The Russian paper which broke the story quoted a Kremlin official as saying a hit squad was probably already planning to kill him.  ”We know who he is and where he is,” the unidentified official said. “Do not doubt that a Mercader has been sent after him already.”

First Republican presidential debate planned for next spring

Okay here we go again. Now that the 2010 elections are behind us, it’s time to start looking ahead to 2012. And so today we have former first lady Nancy Reagan GERALD FORDannouncing plans to invite Republican candidates to the first presidential debate. It’s to be held next spring at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in Simi Valley, California.

Setting up the first debate could have the net effect of forcing some would-be candidates who are sitting back and testing the political winds to go ahead and make a decision on whether they will run. We’re talking about you, Sarah Palin.

“Ronnie would be thrilled that the road to the White House will begin at his presidential library,” Mrs. Reagan said in a statement. “I look forward to welcoming and watching the top candidates debate the issues next spring.”

Will spelling count in Alaska write-in ballot count?

vote3They’re counting write-in ballots in Alaska to decide the winner of the last undecided U.S. Senate race of the 2010 elections.

It’s write-in candidate Lisa Murkowski versus Sarah Palin protege and Tea Party favorite Joe Miller in a Republican family feud where spelling counts.

Incumbent  Murkowski lost  to Miller in the Republican Senate primary. But she mounted a write-in campaign to keep the seat she’s held for eight years.