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Posts Tagged ‘Senate

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 »

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The Young And The Not So Restless

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regrets, i've had a few.

The man holding a cardboard Hillary Clinton’s breast is Obama’s chief speechwriter, Jon Favreau, 27. This photo appeared on Facebook, and since its discovery has prompted a contrite and totally unsurpising apology by Mr. Favreau to the future Secretary of State of the United States of America.

Youthful indiscretion is something we all go through, but it’s not something we usually expect from the senior echelons of American political life. However, my guess is that scanning Facebook for more examples of drink + youth = stupidity inside the Beltway will probably turn up a much larger crop these days than in the distant past. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by coolrebel

December 7, 2008 at 7:47 pm

“Trial Balloon” This Week’s Word du Jour.

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orlando-balloon-rides

will it fly?

You got to love the press. When they get a word or phrase in their heads they just can’t stop using it. Just after Obama won, the word was “transformative”, as in way transformative election. This week, as Obama starts to put together his cabinet and prepare for government, the word is “trial balloon”.

Here’s a great example of an Obama trial balloon. Yesterday, before Obama confirmed that Eric Holder was to be the new Attorney General, the information about Holder was leaked along with a caveat. That Obama wanted to see whether the black mark against Holder’s name ( that he had signed off on the pardon of Marc Rich on the last day of the Clinton presidency ), would be held against him by Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee, because he wanted to make sure his Attorney General nominee had broad bipartisan support. The answer came through that the GOP Senators on the committee didn’t have a problem with Holder, so the trial balloon was turned into a big red, white and blue balloon that everyone can be proud of. Sounds smart, right? Maybe not. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by coolrebel

November 19, 2008 at 11:08 pm

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

Lieberman Update…

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i am grateful

i am grateful

We now know for sure that Obama wanted to keep Lieberman on board. I’m certain his voice was the key to his survival as chair of the Homeland Security Committee. Obama probably didn’t make his reasons clear, but it seems certain they were straightforwardly tactical. Lieberman is in the Senate for at least four more years. So it’s a good idea for Obama to own him to help him beat GOP filibusters. It’s unlikely he cares much for a turncoat, but the key here is appearances. Who doesn’t like to be forgiven, and who doesn’t like to be seen as forgiving?

Lieberman was kind enough to do his part by saying that he was grateful to Obama for putting in a good word for him, a not so subtle hint that the President-Elect was running the show. The whole episode made Lieberman go all warm and fuzzy inside.  Katie Couric interviewed Lieberman earlier…

He added that he thought the Democratic message on the subject was, “it’s time for us to reconcile, to close ranks.” He added he was “very grateful” and “in some senses feeling closer to the Senate Democratic caucus than I have since the 2000 election.”

For more info go here

Written by coolrebel

November 19, 2008 at 4:13 pm