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Archive of Articles for April, 2010
Boy, Louisiana just can't seem to catch a break, can it? If it isn't Mother Nature walloping it with hurricanes, its a man-made disaster of enormous proportions about to bury its bayous and waterways under a blanket of foul-smelling muck.
Charlie Crist just made the Florida Senate race a whole lot more interesting, by announcing he will run as an independent candidate, making it a real three-way race. This will make the election more interesting for political reporters, because it's always more fun to cover a three-horse race than a two-horse race (as it were). But the most interesting question to me is what happens if Crist actually wins and goes to the Senate -- with which party would he caucus?
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid just showed Democrats what real leadership (and what bargaining from a position of strength) looks like. After three days of repeated cloture votes to bring Chris Dodd's Wall Street reform bill to the floor of the Senate for debate, it appears the Republicans are ready to blink. The Republicans successfully managed to block the debate, in three successive votes, but they know they're paying a political price for doing so. At this point, the only question is how many of them will jump the aisle and vote with the Democrats in the next vote.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid held a second vote today on whether to begin debate on the Wall Street reform bill put forth by Senator Chris Dodd. As expected, all the Republicans voted against openly debating the bill once again. Also as expected, all the Democrats voted to move forward. Except one.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid just scored a political victory by losing a vote. That sounds counterintuitive, but it's true. By failing to bring the Wall Street reform bill written by Chris Dodd to the floor for debate, and by losing a cloture vote on the issue to Republican opposition, Reid has shown that the Democrats (and the White House) have learned a few lessons from the health reform debate. Because by refusing to back down, and refusing to "compromise" (read: water the bill down and add loopholes for Wall Street) with Republicans, Reid is showing real strength, and real leadership.
Democrats had a pretty good week last week. As attention shifts away from unpronounceable volcanoes (more on them in a moment) to the struggle in the Senate over Wall Street reform, the two parties almost seem to have changed their normal methods of playing the political game. The Republicans are all over the map on the issue, and extremely worried about the impression by angry voters that they are doing Wall Street's bidding -- as well they should be. Republicans are, one day, loudly denouncing the reform bill, using their standard Big Lie technique... and then, the next day, saying a deal is very close, and even voting for strong reform in committees. Republicans (some of them, at least) are chickening out of the upcoming partisan battle the Republican leadership seems to want over the issue (more on chickens later on, too). Democrats have, so far, managed both to admirably stay on message and showed an amazing amount of backbone in countering specious Republican arguments. And, so far, polls show the voters are solidly on the Democrats' side on this one, and just not buying what Republicans are telling them. As I said, we seem to have entered BackwardsLand, or something.
Instead, I'd like to highlight some good environmentalist news from a few weeks ago, which didn't really get much media attention at the time. Perhaps if they had delayed the announcement, it would have made a bigger splash today, being Earth Day and all.
Ever wondered where the Tea Partiers actually live? The PBS NewsHour website has now helpfully mapped it out as part of their "Patchwork Nation" project (in partnership with the Christian Science Monitor), for anyone interested to see. This map isn't exactly surprising, as it shows Tea Partiers are more concentrated in traditional Republican areas. But it is interesting to see such a level of detail, measured as concentration of Tea Party members for every county across America.