Posts Tagged ‘Politico’

The inside story of why not a single House Republican supported the president’s stimulus package; and other related news.

February 1, 2009

This may be the only post for the day (I have GOT to focus on LSAT stuff till the test next Sat.; and, there’s a big bowl people are passing around tonight or something), save for a possible later post about incredibly silly (and perhaps cruel) pet gadgets.  The articles in TheDailyBeast and Nate Silver’s 538.com are really worth your attention, partic. Silver’s.

The Daily Beast explores some inside baseball on why the stimulus bill drew not a single GOP vote in the House:

It turned out that this estimate was 1,000 percent too high, because Emanuel’s go-for-the-big-win style, even when mixed with the president’s earnest charm, did not gain even one vote from the House GOP. The caucus held together like a stone wall when it came time to vote on the Democratic-authored $825 billion stimulus package—all 177 members joined 11 “Blue Dog” Democrats for the 244-188 final tally. How this was done explains the sudden and surprising new discipline of the Republican Party.

Joe Klein defends the spirit of bipartisanship:

Obama’s almost fetishistic pursuit of Republicans — two hours spent with the crabby minority at the Capitol! — is another attempt to deprive his enemies of a Great Satan. The President will make some Republican-oriented concessions, dropping some of the cheesier spending from the stimulus plan. He will get some GOP votes for his stimulus package, but more important, he is establishing himself as a relentlessly reasonable and polite presence in town — and his comity is making it all the more difficult for buffoons like Rush Limbaugh to influence the tone of the Republican opposition.

Time explains the spending from a Keynesian perspective:

— we all really do seem to be Keynesians now. Just about every expert agrees that pumping $1 trillion into a moribund economy will rev up the ethereal goods-and-services engine that Keynes called “aggregate demand” and stimulate at least some short-term activity, even if it is all wasted on money pits.

Political pollster and presidential campaign guru whizkid wunderkind Nate Silver offers some bleak prognostications for the future of the GOP.  Here he explains The Republican Death Spiral:

Most fundamentally of all, the McCain campaign radically overestimated the importance of appealing to the base. House Republicans may be replicating their mistake. Self-described conservative Republicans represent only about 20 percent of the population. This base is not necessarily becoming smaller; it’s still alive and kicking. What is true, however, is that the (1) base has never been sufficient to form a winning electoral coalition, and (2) that there are fewer and fewer non-base (e.g. moderates, libertarian Republicans, Republican leaning-independents). As these moderates have fled the GOP, the party’s electoral fortunes have tanked. But simultaneously, they have had less and less influence on the Republican message.
Thus the Republicans, arguably, are in something of a death spiral. The more conservative, partisan, and strident their message becomes, the more they alienate non-base Republicans. But the more they alienate non-base Republicans, the fewer of them are left to worry about appeasing. Thus, their message becomes continually more appealing to the base — but more conservative, partisan, and strident to the rest of us. And the process loops back upon itself.

not much more

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Is 60 within reach??

January 30, 2009

The Obama administration has been floating the idea of naming Republican Sen. Judd Gregg (N.H.) to be Commerce Secretary. 

Politico does the math:

Democrats “are delighted because it could mean they gain a pivotal seat.” Asked “whether he’d ever been offered the Commerce job, Gregg told Politico: ‘I am not at liberty to discuss that.'” Politico adds that “a White House official would say only that Obama “has not made a decision” about the Commerce job.” New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch “is a Democrat. If Gregg were to leave and Lynch were to appoint a Democrat in his place — and if Al Franken wins in Minnesota — the Democratic Party would suddenly control 60 seats in the Senate.”

 I wonder how this will all pan out.  I imagine the GOP will try their hardest to get him to stay, preventing the 60-seat, filibuster-breakin’, magic number.  But like, this may be Gregg’s dream job.  I hope hope hope…

Of course, the identity-politics-pander-parade is doing their best to derail this fucking GIFT.

Has Obama ended the “war on terror”?

January 28, 2009

 A MotherJones writer poses the question to Robert Gibbs:

At Robert Gibbs’ first briefing as White House press secretary on Thursday afternoon, I asked if the president had booted the war metaphor. Gibbs replied that Obama had used language that was consistent with his inaugural address. In that speech, Obama had indeed said that “our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred.” But he did not use the standard “war on terror” phrase. Instead he threw the word “war” against a specific target.

He then offers a handy summation:

He’s obviously not allergic to the term. But it’s not the description he reaches for first when he publicly discusses the matter.

Foreign Policy isn’t buying it:

The war on terror has been the country’s defining national security narrative since 9/11, and politicians across the political spectrum have paid obeisance to it.

Further in, they display unusually high cynicism too:

MORE…

Committee assignments

January 22, 2009

Democratic Senator Roland Burris, appointed recently by ‘scandal-tarred’ Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich landed spots on some top Senate committees: Armed Services, Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, and Veterans Affairs (are the Dems going all-in with Burris–trying to prep him for reelection in ’10?).

McCain also did some committee-dosey-do, leaving the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee in exchange for “three new panels: Energy and Natural Resources; Health, Education, Labor and Pensions; and Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs” (I like that Obama has been working to make McCain an ally in the Senate and help restore his legacy of bipartisanship a bit…could this be part of that, putting him in a better position to help or support Obama?).  McCain “will continue to serve as ranking member on the Armed Services Committee and on the Indian Affairs Committee. ”

(HatTip: Politico)