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Posts Tagged ‘Congress

Now It’s Up to the Democratic Congress to Step Up

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clinton in 1993. he came from hope, he ended up nowhere.

a fresh faced bill clinton in 1993. he came from hope, he ended up nowhere.

In 1993 Clinton arrived on a heady wave of enthusiasm, dedicated to undoing some of the excesses of Reaganism. He made a few stumbles, he announced a sweeping healthcare initiative and he got nowhere. There are many reasons for his failure. The sheer newness of the administration, presentation issues, and this – he got very limited support from a Democratically controlled Congress. That opened the door for Gingrich’s charges of stasis and corruption that led to the Contract for America, and sweeping mid-term victories. That broadly was the end of the Clinton Administration as an effective liberally-driven government. It’s the main reason that the Reagan Revolution was not shattered. Clinton became merely a painful interregnum.

Cut to 15 years later.  Obama is getting it right. The budget is a great document, the bipartisan experiment is over, the decision to leave troops behind in Iraq is correct, and the healthcare, energy, and education agendas are on course. Now it’s up to the Democratically elected Congress to respond. Obama’s charm offensive is wasted on the GOP. Obama appears to have realized that. The true targets of his charm offensive should be members of his own Senate caucus with a more conservative viewpoint. Read the rest of this entry »

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Obama – The Time to be Unpopular is Now

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Obama is all about popularity. But he forgets that popularity is least important after you’ve just won an election. He went out of his way to court the GOP on his stimulus bill, and despite an awful lot of bipartisan BS, not one voted knuckle-dragger for it.

For a President apparently more politically savvy than most on arrival in the White House, he let himself down badly. He forgot that Bipartisanship BS is only meant to be trotted out for winning elections. After they’re over, you kick the losers when they’re down. But Obama’s flaw is that he hates the idea of being hated. So instead, the President got an earful of whining from the GOP who had ample opportunity to diss the plan, and Obama ends up looking like an unconvincin blowhard, after only a week on the job.

The lesson of the day is pretty simple. The GOP is more right-wing, doctrinaire and disagreeable than ever. They’re MO is very simple. If the President had ignored them they would have bleated on that nobody listens. If the President gives them the time of day, they give him the finger. Neither apporach is without costs, but the former is a far better alternative, considering that right now Republicans are more discredited than at virtually any time since Roosevelt.

Politics is not a pretty business. It never was and it never will be. The sooner Obama realizes that the better, because right now he’s at risk of becoming a victim of his own magnanimity. Most kids learn it in the school yard. There are certain people that are just dangerous to be friends with. Obama apparently missed that memo.

Written by coolrebel

January 28, 2009 at 4:03 pm

Obama is Using Rick Warren and That’s Smart

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aren't they sweet together. not

aren't they sweet together. not

Rick Warren is a more agreeable and far smarter version of Focus on the Family’s repugnant James Dobson. If you’re going to try and turn the country into some kind of boring Christian nation, you don’t harangue people to do it, like Dobson. You have to jolly them towards the Rapture, with a Starbucks latte and a good time.

Warren is, sadly, a very influential man in certain quarters. He will look upon his appearance at Obama’s inauguration as a huge victory for his roly-poly propaganda approach. He’ll stir up his troops in favor of the new President, he’ll be able to show nice pix of him blessing the new Prez, and he’ll be able to say, look what kind of influence I have. It’s a huge ego trip for him.

Oh, and he’s being used by Obama quite brilliantly. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by coolrebel

December 18, 2008 at 1:25 pm

The Senate. Some Want Out and Some Even Want In.

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united-states-capitol_cb065526

been there. done that.

It’s been a busy few weeks in the Senate. Apart from the few Republicans that got beat in the November election, other Senators are leaving of their own accord. Headlined by Barack Obama himself, his Vice President, Joe Biden, his Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton are all shipping out. Others like Chuck Hagel had had enough. Mel Martinez isn’t standing for re-election in 2010, and Ted Stevens, would like to have stayed but just failed to be the first convicted felon to get re-elected to the Senate. You got to love Alaska’s taste in uncles. As for John McCain, one could easily get the impression that he’s glad to be back, so he can go gently into the night.

Then there are those who are desperate to get in. Everyone from Caroline Kennedy to Jesse Jackson Junior to Al Franken, still counting votes in Hennepin County, Minnesota. The idea that Jesse Jackson Jr. appears at least to some extent to have been prepared to risk the extreme toxicity of Rod Blagojevich to get his shot strikes me as risky in the extreme. But in all these cases, the candidates seem to me to have been captivated by the majesty and history of the place, but forget that the Senate is basically one big, and frankly boring, compromise. It revels in its sham bipartisanship, and unlikely, awkward alliances. It’s no surprise the place is so ineffective in so many ways. A place where Barack Obama can co-sponsor legislation with the most right wing Senators in the Republican Caucus, Tom Coburn, is a place where cooperation trumps the quality of policy making. Read the rest of this entry »

Ford + GM Have Been Making Small Cars For Years. In Europe.

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Recognize these?

getimage1

2au_largeThe one on the left is a Ford Ka, the one on the right is GM Vauxhall Corsa.

Small, good-looking, low cost, not at all thirsty, and sold in Europe for years.

Ford and GM during their latest congressional grovel sessions, said they’d tool up to produce small cars in the US. Great idea, except they’ve been making small cars for decades. Good ones too.

Here’s the rest of the Ford Europe Range, and here’s the GM Europe Range (brand name Vauxhall). Take a look. Would they be able to take on Toyota and Honda in the US? Definitely.

They both have great well designed ranges that could be really competitive in the US, with low emissions, great gas mileage (almost as good as a hybrid for way less money) and far better European styling than we’re used to here in the US even from the Japanese.

So why weren’t they for sale here? Read the rest of this entry »

The Fair Ladies Of Maine

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Judging from his appointments so far, it’s becoming pretty clear that Obama is going to mean business when he takes over in two months time. Just to take one example, the appointment of Tom Daschle as Health and Human Services Secretary is a clear sign that Healthcare reform is front and center. Daschle is a former Majority Leader in the Senate and knows how to play the legislative game better than just about anyone else. Who better to help reform through Congress.

You can bet that Obama’s healthcare reform package is going to contain an awful lot that the GOP Senate Caucus is going to hate. In about three seconds all talk of bipartisanship will be off, because they will filibuster. Or at least try to. My guess is that the Dems end with 57, (they will probably win Minnesota by a handful of votes). That means, including Bernie Sanders, and the recently exonerated Joe Lieberman, they’ll have 59 votes. That leaves them one shy to beat the filibuster.

Which is where the fair ladies of Maine come in… Read the rest of this entry »

Written by coolrebel

November 19, 2008 at 4:44 pm