tip off

Republicans battle between moderates and Tea Partiers

Crikey readers weigh in.

Crikey iPad and First Dog pack winners

Congratulations to Tracey Evans. You’re the lucky iPad winner in Crikey’s Christmas Extravaganza!

And also a big well done to Rob Brownbill for getting nearest to pin with our tabloid titles quiz. He wins a First Dog prize pack.

Dangling off the fiscal cliff

Damir Ibrisimovic writes: Re. “Rundle: Obama weighs up letting the budget go over the cliff” (yesterday). In Guy Rundle’s analysis, he has missed an important point. Actually, all commentators on “fiscal cliff” seem to have missed that one. It may help, therefore, to offer a hint:

GOP is already sharply divided into Tea Party and moderate Republicans. In many ways, it resembles an uneasy coalition between two distinctive parties. And any compromise with Democrats could actually lead towards a formal split. At the same time, a direct refusal of a compromise (directly linked to Tea Party refusal) could backfire and lead towards a split at a later date.

Obama is in a similar position, but the formal split between Democrats seems unlikely. It is, therefore, quite possible that Obama might decide to go over the “fiscal cliff”, especially if he could directly blame the Tea Party for that. This would force the hand of moderate Republicans before next elections. Ultimately, the US may have a functional Congress after few months of chaos.

I have been closely watching Tea Party movement since it emerged two years ago. Dictatorial urges were obvious from the beginning and I was hoping that moderates will start to distance themselves immediately. Unfortunately, this did not happen and, for the sake of elusive unity within GOP, moderates became willing hostages in Tea Party ultimatums. This is now, in my opinion, at a breaking point.

Personally, I am in favour of a formal split — sooner rather than later. It may hit global economy for a short while, but would benefit US and the rest of the world in the long run.

And the Crikey goes to …

Associate Professor Helen Meekosha, School of Social Sciences at the University of New South Wales, writes: Re. “2012 Crikeys: best and worst policy achievements” (Tuesday). With all respect, you have to have rocks in your heads to declare the National Disability Insurance Scheme the best policy achievement.

It is one of the worst policy moves of the past year. The worst form of individualised disability funding to hit the planet. I predict the poorest and most vulnerable disabled people will do the worst out of this scheme — if they understand it, that is. Moreover surveillance is the name of the game and the agenda is about forcing disabled people into a discriminatory, cruel and harsh workforce.

Denise Marcos writes: A category has been overlooked in the 2012 Crikeys i.e: Worst Reading Bee. But no voting is required, the award would automatically go to Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott.

In August he claimed he hadn’t read Marius Klopper’s briefing statement on the shelving of the Olympic Dam expansion but was quick to give interviews on the subject — based on superseded remarks by chairman Jack Nasser (for which ABC’s Leigh Sales will be forever grateful). Then Abbott claimed he had read it after all.

The Opposition has been vociferous on the Peter Slipper/James Ashby case recently before the Federal Court - curiously, since Justice Rares produced a judgement one week ago, Abbott has not read it. Apparently he has been otherwise engaged “doing very important things”.

In the Worst Reading Bee category Tony Abbott takes gold.

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