Weekend Digest: Queen Elizabeth Hits 60, While Obama & Romney Are Likely To Remain Mum

by Roby Brock ([email protected]) 92 views 

The Washington Post also has a lengthy feature on Queen Elizabeth II, who is celebrating her 60th year on the throne. This weekend, a four-day fete begins that will “dwarf last year’s nuptials of her grandson Prince William and his now-famous bride, Catherine.”

The 86-year old queen is experiencing a renaissance in popularity and this weekend's celebration could draw a million visitors to London.

For a family once described as Britain’s most dysfunctional, and in a country where whispers of republicanism seemed to swirl with every new tabloid headline, the rising fortunes of the British royals amount to what observers call a public relations coup.

Many credit the supernova wedding that produced the global stars now known simply as “Will and Kate” with providing the House of Windsor its undeniable boost.

Most important, the younger generation of Windsors — including those now associated by marriage, such as Pippa Middleton, the sister of Catherine — have emerged as de facto pop culture icons rivaling the likes of Lady Gaga and Rihanna. Their fame, royal watchers say, has given the British monarchy’s international image a lift not seen since the early years of another royal couple — Charles and the late Diana, Princess of Wales.

Read more here about the rebirth in popularity of the Royal Family and what's on tap for this weekend.

Smart Money frequently runs “10 Things” lists to spotlight conventional wisdom and to draw attention to what should be in the conversation.
This week, it reveals secrets from the campaign trail in its “10 Things Presidential Candidates Won't Say.”

At the top of the list: “I'm powerless to change the economy.”

When Americans head to the polls in November, political analysts say the economy is going to be issue number one. Although President Barack Obama and Republican candidate Mitt Romney have differing views on how to add spark to the recovery, the man chosen for the job will likely have very little influence on the direction of the economy, experts say.

The shrinking labor force and the globalization of certain industries, along with other, unpredictable events, will have more of an impact on the economy in the long run than, say, the president's proposals for energy or small business lending, says Eugene Steuerle, a senior fellow at the Urban Institute, a think tank in Washington D.C. “There are a lot of economic forces that are basically outside of their control,” he says.

We would add that one of the forces that a President can't control is Congressional behavior. Without supermajorities — which seems far-fetched — a President's agenda has little chance of success unless his party is in power at the capitol.

You can view the remaining 9 topics at this link.

Politico takes a look at how tortured Congress has become in being able to pass the least controversial of measures.

It highlights several issues, including low student loan interest rates, curbing domestic abuse and funding highways as examples.

Never underestimate Congress’s ability to fumble a can’t-miss play.

Now, the slate of issues that lawmakers thought would be a cinch are stuck in a legislative morass, fitting perfectly into Obama’s election-year argument that Congress is a band of incompetents who can’t even agree on curbing domestic violence or shielding college students from ballooning loan payments.

Jake Sherman and John Bresnahan dive into the politics gumming up bills that would seemingly have little controversy attached to their names, or at least find easy consensus, even in a hyper-partisan environment.

It's been a boiling debate in Arkansas for more than a year. State insurance officials have tried to move forward with aspects of a health insurance exchange and have made some progress on the initiative, but not as aggressively as hoped for.

Mostly Republican legislators have called for a waiting period while the U.S. Supreme Court considers the federal health care law's constitutionality. The argument has been that we could be advancing a project that will be struck down and the state could be on the hook for future costs.

The Washington Post takes a look at states that have moved forward with health insurance exchanges and how they're handling the uncertainty.

One solution would be for states to enact their own versions of the individual mandate — a power no one denies states have the constitutional authority to wield and one that Massachusetts has already exercised.

“I certainly could imagine that making sense,” said Maryland’s secretary of health, Joshua Sharfstein. But he added: “I’m not going to be in the position of making a snap judgment.”

Rhode Island has taken a different track, with a requirement that health insurance can't be denied. Its officials say an individual mandate would be a measure to consider only if other efforts fail.

The full story is here.