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Republican ‘young guns’ now draw more jeers than cheers

A year after declaring themselves “Young Guns” ready to clean up Washington, these budget-slashing Republicans are drawing more jeers than cheers — and raising Democrats‘ hopes for next year’s election. Having rejected compromise and threatened government default, they and other Republicans have upset voters, who polls show are increasingly anxious about the economy and disgruntled with both political parties. Last month, Congress’ approval rating slumped to its lowest level ever — about 12 percent. “Right now, voters hate everyone,” said Steve Stivers, one of 62 first-term “Young Gun” Republicans in the House of Representatives. “People are frustrated. But I feel
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Congress just makes the economy worse

With the economy facing a heightened risk of sliding back into recession, the country’s elected representatives may be pushing it closer to the brink. Democrats and Republicans say job creation is a top priority as they return to work this week, but there is a growing body of evidence that Congress is actually hurting the economy. A protracted budget stalemate in the first half of the year caused nervous federal agencies to sit on billions of dollars that should have been circulating through the economy. A vitriolic debate over raising the debt ceiling this summer spooked consumers, caused turmoil in
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Debt-ridden postal service looks to Congress for help

The postmaster general is going to Congress to discuss the Postal Service‘s mounting debt. Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe is among the witnesses scheduled to appear Tuesday before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. The Postal Service is facing a second straight year of losses of $8 billion or more. A decline in mail because of the Internet and the loss of revenue from advertising amid the economic downturn have taken a toll on the agency. Postal officials say they will be unable to make this month’s $5.5 billion payment to cover future employee health care costs because the
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Voters to Palin: Stay out of Presidential race

Sarah Palin may think she has what it takes to be President and political gurus may think she should run but a Fox News poll shows voters across the political spectrum have a common message for the former Alaska governor: Stay out of the race! Even tea party members who earlier embraced Palin think she should stick to making money with books and speeches. According to the polls, 74 percent of all respondents don’t think Palin should ever run for President and 71 percent of Republicans said “nada” to a presidential run by the fading political star. Sixty-six percent of
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Will a leaking economy sink Obama?

President Barack Obama faces a long re-election campaign having all but given up on the economy rebounding in any meaningful way before November 2012. His own budget office predicts unemployment will stay at about 9 percent, a frightening number for any president seeking a second term. Obama’s prospects aren’t entirely grim, however. The GOP, heavily influenced by the tea party, may nominate someone so deeply flawed or right-leaning that, Democrats hope, Obama can persuade Americans to give him a second chance rather than risk the alternative. Democrats say the man who ran on hope and change in 2008 will have
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Labor faces new reality with little help from Obama

In the early days of the Obama administration, organized labor had grand visions of pushing through a sweeping agenda that would help boost sagging membership and help revive union strength. Now labor faces this reality: Public employee unions are in a drawn-out fight for their very survival in Wisconsin, Ohio and other states where GOP lawmakers have curbed collective bargaining rights. Also, many union leaders are grousing that the president they worked so hard to elect has not focused enough on job creation and other bold plans to get their members back to work. “Obama campaigned big, but he’s governing
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Like it or not, tea party is an influencing factor

Bulling its way into 2012, the tea party is shaping the race for the GOP presidential nomination as candidates parrot the movement’s language and promote its agenda while jostling to win its favor. That’s much to the delight of Democrats who are working to paint the tea party and the eventual Republican nominee as extreme. “The tea party isn’t a diversion from mainstream Republican thought. It is within mainstream Republican thought,” Mitt Romney told a New Hampshire newspaper recently, defending the activists he’s done little to woo, until now. The former Massachusetts governor is starting to court them more aggressively
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Dick Cheney tries to rewrite history

Dick Cheney‘s autobiography presents a robust defense of his push for the U.S. invasion of Iraq without critically examining two issues central to America’s near-failure in the war: the Bush administration’s decision to disband the country’s army and banish all members of Saddam Hussein‘s Baath Party. Cheney has said that “In My Time” would cause “heads to explode” in Washington, and it is juicy reading for its harsh criticism of two secretaries of state, Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice, and one defense secretary, Robert Gates. Not surprising was Cheney’s adulation of Gates’ Pentagon predecessor, Donald H. Rumsfeld, the vice president’s
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Safe, but not safe enough

We are safer, but not safe enough. In the decade since the Sept. 11 attacks, the government has taken giant steps to protect the nation from terrorists, spending eye-popping sums to smarten up the federal bureaucracy, hunt down enemies, strengthen airline security, secure U.S. borders, reshape America’s image and more. Still, the effort remains a work in progress, and in some cases a work stalled. Whole alphabets of acronyms have been born and died in pursuit of homeland security, a phrase that wasn’t even used much before 9/11. Hello, TSA, DNI, DHS, NCTC, CVE, NSI and ICE. Goodbye, TTIC, INS
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Palin sure sounds like she’s running for President

Cheers of “Run Sarah, Run” greeted Sarah Palin at a tea party rally in Iowa, but the former Alaska governor still isn’t saying whether she’s going to jump into the 2012 presidential race. Palin did have harsh words Saturday for President Barack Obama and the direction that she says the country has taken in his first term. She says “America is hurting” and at “a tipping point” due to “failed policies and incompetent leadership.” The 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee says the crisis runs deeper than the fear of double-dip recession or “the shame of a credit downgrade.” She says
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