• Fiscal cliff as first battle of 2016 election

    Top Line

    The fiscal cliff -- automatic tax increases and spending cuts that would go into effect January 1st if Congress and the White House fail to agree to a fix -- is going to dominate the rest 2012, but it could be the potential 2016 candidates that play critical roles in what happens toward the end of the year. This is the first round of the 2016 primaries; how these politicians deal with the fiscal cliff challenge is going to be the first thing that we talk about four years hence, it is going to be a defining moment for all of them.

    Many Republicans are looking to Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., chairman of the budget committee and former vice presidential candidate, for signals on what they should be doing as these fiscal cliff talks play out. As the budget guru, he is the guy everybody trusts to run the numbers. Ryan is well-positioned to become the leader of the hardliners, the group that pushes against President Obama, which would win him support among the GOP base. But he then

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  • Pete Townshend’s political confession: “I’m a bit of a neocon”

    Spinners and Winners

    If you ask Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey about political messages behind the The Who's music, they'll be quick to tell you the band steered clear of mixing politics and music. But when these rock legends sat down with ABC's Jonathan Karl to talk about their work for teens with cancer, they didn't shy away from talking about both politics and music.

    Townshend, who described himself "a bit of a neocon" politically, said he was surprised that Mitt Romney lost the election to President Obama.

    "I thought he [Romney] was throwing the money in such buckets and I thought Obama looked, looked tired," Townshend said of the presidential election.

    While Townshend said he mostly tries to stay out of politics, he thought the election's outcome was good in the sense that it provides consistency in the midst of an economic recovery. "You need a continuum now I think," said Townshend.

    Though Townshend has his share of political opinions, he says he was not politically

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  • What Obama can learn from Lincoln

    Top Line

    A president has been re-elected in tumultuous times, there's the challenge of a lame duck Congress to pass controversial legislation, we have a polarized electorate, and an even more polarized Congress. Will the president forsake those very beliefs that got him re-elected just to pass legislation? Will he rise above, or will he engage in petty politics?

    Is it the year 2012 ... or 1865? In fact, it's both, which is what makes the new "Lincoln" movie and our current political situation so much fun -- there is so much about these times that are similar.

    Granted this year's issue of an impending so-called "fiscal cliff" is far less important than abolishing slavery, but there are so many other parallels. Obama could learn a lot from Lincoln's wheeling and dealing with politicians, as it is portrayed in the movie. Politics is messy, and even Lincoln was involved in horse trading and a little bit of subterfuge to get things done. That is what it takes in politics.

    What Abraham

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