If you believe Trent Lott, Tom Daschle will have his hands full when he becomes majority leader of the Senate later today. Over the weekend, the deposed Republican majority leader bitterly threatened to "wage war" against Democrats, insisting their 50-49 majority does not actually constitute a majority and promising to grind Senate operations to a halt if he grows displeased with Daschle's handling of Bush's judicial nominees.
So there you are, a pollutant-spewing refinery, nimbly dodging Environmental Protection Agency regulators as you deliver record earnings to shareholders. Along with your comrades, you've donated $25.5 million to Republicans in the 2000 election cycle. Things are going smoothly. Your man Bush is in the White House, he's drummed up an "energy crisis" that he says requires him to go easy on you; maybe he's even given you a nickname. Then, all of a sudden, you hear that four energy companies have just settled clean air lawsuits -- on terms favorable to the government! What's more, Attorney General John Ashcroft suddenly sounds like he's been possessed by Ralph Nader: "Enforcing environmental law is a top priority for the Justice Department," Ashcroft says, to your amazement.
Earlier this week, the Bush administration's immigration taskforce leaked word that it was considering a proposal to grant amnesty to the estimated 3 million Mexicans living illegally in the United States. The amnesty plan is one of many proposals under consideration by the taskforce. But just leaking the fact that it was being considered guaranteed prominent coverage and much positive speculation.
George W. Bush's spokesman Ari Fleischer said last week that the president-elect has no plans to pardon Bill Clinton if -- as expected -- independent counsel Robert Ray indicts him when he leaves office next month. Most Republicans strongly favor Bush's position and are eager to see the legal system finally deliver Clinton his comeuppance. "I think if you pardon Bill Clinton, it would be a terrible way to start a new Bush administration," Republican strategist Ed Rollins said on Hardball.
This morning, the centrist Democratic Leadership Council officially launched the election post-mortem with a lively panel discussion between leading New Democrats and liberals at the National Press Club. At hand was the question of why Al Gore lost the election -- an issue certain to dominate Democratic discussion between now and 2004. Based on this morning's proceedings, the discussion will sound an awful lot like this:
New Democrat: "Gore lost the election because he ran on liberal themes and turned his back on the reform-minded centrism that got Clinton elected in '92 and '96."