Lightning Round: Save Us, Withdrawn Commerce Secretary Nominee, You're Our Only Hope.

  • And here I was thinking that maybe, just maybe, Democrats might start to get that chasing the bipartisan dragon only leads to weaker, less effective legislation that is inappropriate for the scope of the problem it is designed to solve. Case in point: a Senate Finance Committee "jobs bill" which includes a "core" of tax cuts, including relief for the heirs of multimillionaires. Thankfully, Harry Reid has exercised some control over his caucus and has torn up this insult and moved on to a more "focused" bill. Meanwhile, the president is probably being overly optimistic in his prediction that we'll be creating an average of 95,000 jobs per month for the rest of the year, not to mention that that's not nearly enough to turn around unemployment numbers.
  • A couple of thoughts on Politico's piece on Judd Gregg swooping in to save health-care reform: 1) Judd has "a proven ability to swing Republican votes?" Did I miss the news last year when Gregg's horse-trading consistently helped advanced the Democrats' agenda with Republican support? 2) Perhaps if Democrats got their act together and realized the importance of passing the legislation they already crafted over the course of a year (to say nothing of the immediate political benefit of doing so), they wouldn't have to be treated to stories about wise and fiscally sober Republicans "saving" the legislative majority's signature bill.
  • Mahmoud Ahmadinejad attempted to goad the West into playing the nuclear madman guessing game today with a speech that claims the Islamic Republic now has the ability to construct nuclear weapons at its leisure. The consensus among experts is that this is almost certainly a wild exaggeration, and the response of the governments Ahmadinejad means to intimidate has been diplomatically coated mockery, strengthening the option of getting the U.N. to impose tougher sanctions on the regime. I'm sure Michael Ledeen and John Bolton are trading notes on their piece for tomorrow's Washington Post about how this means we need to immediately respond with airstrikes, so be glad they no longer have any influence on U.S. foreign policy.
  • Today's filibuster roundup includes Biden explaining why the filibuster is being abused without actually endorsing a course of action that he himself could play a central role in, and the continued efforts of Sen. Tom Harkin to get some sort of filibuster reform bill to the floor of the Senate. Frankly, I'm finding myself more drawn to the Biden 51-vote approach than the Harkin 67-vote approach, and not just because there will never be 67 votes in the Senate to curtail filibuster abuse. The point about the filibuster and other countermajoritarian traditions in the Senate is that it slows down the legislative process and makes it even more susceptible to corruption and ugly deal-making. Turning the Senate into a majority-rule institution would make government more productive and people would start seeing it working in their interest, rather than contributing to American decline.
  • Remainders: Obama is open to raising taxes, and has the guts to say it to reporters; Carly Fiorina is not ready for prime time; a Missouri Republican adopts the Dinesh D'Souza theory of terrorism prevention; Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-FL) becomes the 18th House Republican to retire in advance of November's elections; not having read anything from the wingnut blogosphere in years, I assume this is typical of its current state of intellectual development; Republicans continue to display their contempt for Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution; 2012 Republican presidential nominee Paul Ryan shows off his formidable knowledge of political history; Brendan Nyhan previews the next wave of wishful why-Obama-is-failing thinking to grip the D.C. cocktail circuit; Americans really, really don't understand the federal budget; and have presidential (or vice-presidential) ambitions been speculated about anyone (besides her) more than Gen. David Petraeus?

--Mori Dinauer

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