Archive

  • No on Bolton

    Democrats voted to reject cloture on Bolton, in other words, they're filibustering him until they get the NSA intercepts and other documents that have thus far been withheld. Looks like the opposition party has decided against going quietly into the sweet night. Good for them. Indeed, I think this may be more important than it appears on first glance. Aside from the obvious utility of holding up Bolton, the power balance in the post-compromise Senate was really up for grabs. The language of the resolution was so vague as to make it entirely possible that Republican moderates, and thus the Republican majority, had actually increased their power over the Democrats, that they could demand "good behavior" in return for abiding by the compromise. Rejecting Bolton -- with a filibuster no less! -- proves that the Democrats don't see what happened in the judicial fight as binding them in future confrontations. They're still on the attack and Frist is still stuck pathetically calling for...
  • Fun Fact of the Day

    There was a time in this country when corporations sought not to cut and run from pension plans, shift health costs onto employees, and shortchange their workers. Indeed, their was a time when companies sought to invest in their workforces, under the assumption that their workforces would respond in kind. This comes from page 23 Of Robert Collins' More : The relationship between General Motors and the United Automobile Workers exemplified the new turn in class relations. General Motors had embarked on a massive $2.5 billion post-war expansion program designed to boost production by more than 50 percent over prewar levels, building new plants in California, Texas, Ohio, and New York and increasing its blue-collar workforce by 25 percent. To safeguard this expansion, GM needed stability and predictability. On the other side, the UAW wanted higher pay, better benefits, and relief from the press of post-war inflation. In 1948, GM and the UAW agreed on a contract incorporation both a...
  • Clark Comes Back

    Via The Carpetbagger we get a Roll Call article on Wesley Clark's continuing efforts to insinuate himself into the national Democratic structure as the go-to guy on national security. As The Bagger says: The implications in the 2008 race are obvious, and the article notes that Clark is continuing to cultivate his relationships with key Dem leaders, including Reps. Charlie Rangel (N.Y.) and Rahm Emanuel (Ill.). Of course, it’s not just beltway activities either — Clark is maintaining a busy speaking schedule with Dems across the country, including a speech next month at the annual Flag Day Dinner of the Manchester City Democratic Committee in New Hampshire. Indeed, the article suggests that Clark retains a surprising depth of support within the Democratic establishment. Rangel says, on the record, that Clark would have won the election, while Tom Harkin, the article implies, wanted to endorse him in Iowa up until he pulled out. Speculation for the next round seems to settle on Hillary...
  • Think Forward

    Kenny Baer's got a piece over at TNR raising the alarm over erosion in the Jewish vote. According to exit polls, there really isn't any erosion in the Jewish vote, but as Baer convincingly argues, that may not actually be true. In any case, it doesn't matter. At this point, it's really not about keeping the old band together. The sad fact is that the Democratic party is, if current demographic and voting patterns hold, marching straight towards obsolescence. Check out this chart of projected changes in the electoral college due to population growth. The South is growing. The Northeast is shrinking. In 2004, we got 252 electoral votes to the Republican's 286. In 2012, the same state breakdown would give them 290 votes, and us 248. 2024 would would make it 299 to 239, and 2032 would give us 235 electoral votes to their 303. The trends, one might safely say, are not in our favor. Fighting to retain Jews in New York, which is what Baer's talking about, isn't really worth our time. We're...
  • Explaining the Deal

    David Corn sat in on Dick Durbin explaining the filibuster deal and he's come out with a good write-up of the senator's rationale. Durbin's disappointed, so those of you who found the halfway measure distasteful can rest easy in Dick's arms. But he's also resigned. According to him, we didn't have the votes to stop the nuclear option, and a senate shutdown would be a very, very hard PR battle to win. The best case scenario, certainly, was voting the option down. But once that proved out of reach, this was second best for the Democrats.
  • New Plan

    John Thune's victory over Tom Daschle was won, in large part, on the rationale that a South Dakota senator allied with the White House could do more for the state. The centerpiece of the claim was that Rove's enmity towards the then-minority leader would spur him to close Ellsworth Air Force base, while Thune's election would halt that process. Thune beat Daschle, but the base is still being closed. So what's a freshmen senator to do? Vote against everything the president cares about. And leak it to the New York Times . First on Thune's shit list is Bolton, who, contrary to past statements, he's now leaning against. So welcome aboard, John Thune. You're a small, petty man whose campaign was a lie, but right now you're a vote against Bolton and I love you for it.
  • The President's Incredible Vanishing Convictions

    This week's New Yorker has a fawning profile on McCain, one of those looong cover stories underscoring his deep commitment to honesty, noble way, rugged good looks, and long-lived mother (I'm not kidding). Strangely enough, it also had something very interesting. When McCain ran in 2000, he received Gary Bauer's endorsement. Bauer, of course, is the hardcore Christian who ran for the Republican nomination, and his word carries weight. Now why did McCain get it, rather than committed evangelical George W. Bush? Apparently Bauer asked both candidates to pledge that their Supreme Court nominees would be pro-life. McCain agreed. Bush said he refused to have a litmus test. Bauer backs up this account, as do friends of McCain. Huh? I'd be inclined to dismiss the tale except for the simple fact that McCain did indeed receive Bauer's endorsement, while Robertson and Falwell, modern-day Mammons that they are, went with Bush because of McCain's ardent support of campaign finance reform. This...
  • Bleg

    What's a cheap, good service to register domain names with?
  • Draft Warren

    "It's become time to define a Schwarzenegger Republican. A Schwarzenegger Republican is a Bush Republican who says he's a Schwarzenegger Republican." That's Warren Beatty giving the commencement speech at the Berkeley School of Public Policy. I consider myself something of a sucker for good oration. And indeed, I've got the speech compendiums to prove it. But even I was blown away by Beatty's address, it's masterful. And you know what? His equivocation is crap, the guy wants to run for governor. You don't offer a 5-point plan for better public policy if you don't. You don't spend the time, and work with the writers, to craft an address like this if you don't want to enter the ring. Maybe, in the end, this is the way forward for California Democrats -- fight glamour with glamour, Maria Shriver with Annette Benning, and the Terminator with Bulworth. Pit Arnold against a fellow star who publicly demands clean financing of elections, Medicare for all, and a fairer tax code. A few days ago...
  • Selling Health Care

    Matt and Kevin tee off my HSA post below with some thoughts on long-term political strategy. Their main point, which is probably correct, is that negotiating with ourselves doesn't make sense. As Matt says, the onus should really be for GM and Ford and the insurance industry to come to us and admit that health care is crumbling, and then we can all meet in the middle and figure something out. Kevin makes the point that, as a bargaining principle, you should always start hight (single-payer with all insurance industry execs thrown in jail) and then negotiate downwards as time goes on. Don't start down and hope to negotiate up. All true on the political front. But I worry that Matt and Kevin are too sanguine about the death of private health care in this country. The move towards HSA's and consumer-shouldered risk, much like the migration towards PPO's, will begin to bring down costs for the country's major businesses. Indeed, the reason that GM and their friends are having such trouble...

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