Archive Page 2

American Politics in 50 Words or Less

And given the contrast between ironclad discipline on the GOP side and the “anything goes” attitude on the Democratic side, it looks like for a while yet we may be in a California-style dynamic where Republicans can’t win elections but Democrats can’t actually pass a governing agenda.

Matthew Iglesias,

A perfect description of why a big tent supermajority isn’t really a supermajority at all.


What Health Care Debate?

Economist CoverNate Silver has a post up at FiveThirtyEight grading the Democrats efforts to learn from the mistakes of Clinton-care in selling a health plan. Spoiler alert: he gives out a lot of Fs.

Here’s the CliffsNotes of the CliffsNotes version (emphasis his):

Until the Democrats have a plan, they are unlikely to gain ground with the public on health care reform.

If some iteration of health care reform doesn’t pass in 2009, that will be the reason why. Because while it wasn’t unexpected to see a number of competing versions floating around the House and Senate — there is, after all, the bipartisan crowd to appeal to, not to mention moderate Democrats — you’d think that by now we’d have a front-runner of sorts, in the form of either a bill or at least a consensus on major elements.

Continue reading ‘What Health Care Debate?’

Iowa to Caucus on Saturday

From the Wall Street Journal,

The Democratic and Republican Parties of Iowa have agreed to a date for the 2010 caucuses–and for the first time they will be held on a Saturday afternoon, the Des Moines Register reports.

While Iowa’s midterm election year caucuses garner little national interest, the Register notes that “it will serve as a great test” ahead of the 2012 presidential caucuses.

The date is set for Jan. 23, 2010, and may alleviate criticism that holding caucuses on a week-day limits attendance for the working class and elderly, among others.

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Captain Kirk Does Palin

And I do double entendre.

Here’s the clip from The Tonight Show:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Captain Kirk Does Palin“, posted with vodpod

Thoughts On Gates-gate

Though it pains me to do so, I’m going to dip a toe into some sound byte coverage. (In case you’re wondering, the water kind of sucks. Case in point: some drivel from the Christian Science Monitor’s blog which has Bill Cosby weighing in on politics.)

The latest scandal over diction is President Obama’s comment that the arresting officer in the Henry Gates incident.

Here’s the CS Monitor with just the basic facts (Skip to the jump for my analysis. It’s blockquote time.):

According to the police report, police received a call that two men black were trying to break into Gates’s house. In fact, the two men were Gates and his driver, who were trying to open the front door, which was jammed.

Both sides have suggested that the other was argumentative. The police report says Gates eventually became verbally abusive, accusing the officer of suspecting him simply because he was black. He was arrested soon after and placed in jail for four hours.

Cambridge police officials claim that the incident was an unfortunate escalation of wills. “I think what went wrong is that you had two human beings that were reacting … and cooler heads did not prevail,” said Cambridge police spokeswoman Kelly Downes.

And here was Obama’s take, when asked for it at a health care presser:

Now, I don’t know, not having been there and not seeing all the facts, what role race played in that, but I think it’s fair to say, number one, any of us would be pretty angry; number two, that the Cambridge Police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home; and number three, what I think we know separate and apart from this incident is that there is a long history in this country of African Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately.  That’s just a fact.

This certainly doesn’t merit the coverage it’s garnered, but it’s certainly fair for the police to take offense to kinda/sorta being called stupid by the Most Eloquent Man in the World. Especially given that we now know there was a black officer at the scene, who since has backed up his white partner’s handling of the situation.

Here’s Obama’s clarification quip, which I find to be a very reasonable reaction.

I have to say I am surprised by the controversy surrounding my statement, because I think it was a pretty straightforward commentary that you probably don’t need to handcuff a guy, a middle-aged man who uses a cane, who’s in his own home.

And, finally, the only reason any of this is worth talking about.

The fact that it has garnered so much attention, I think, is testimony to the fact that these are issues that are still very sensitive here in America.

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Where’d Those Stars Come From,

you ask?

Something called Polldaddy, apparently. Regardless, WordPress will now let you rate my posts, so have at it. If I’m not mistaken, you have to actually open the post to utilize the rating system. So no front-page rating for the link-averse among you.

Once I get situated back in Dallas and resume posting more regularly, I may tinker with using a thumbs up/thumbs down system instead. Ideally I’d prefer just a thumbs up option, to protect my frail blogger-esteem. But we’ll see how this goes.

Health Care Reform and the Great Reconciliation Hoax

We’ve learned two things over the past few weeks, as health care proposals have flitted their way through House and Senate committees.

First, the powers that be — Congressional Dems, not necessarily the president — don’t have a whole lot of good ideas for either cost-cutting or revenue-raising to make this whole thing work.

Second, barring new developments, those not-so-good ideas aren’t going to have an easy time finding votes, filibuster-proof majority be damned.

There are any number of reasons for why this is. Counting moderate Democrats squeamish about government-run health care and the questionable health of Democratic Sens. Ted Kennedy and Robert Byrd, the supermajority party could run close to ten votes shy of the 60 needed to squelch a filibuster. Realistically, many of those moderate Dems would probably toe the party line when push came to shove. But Arlen Specter would still be a big question mark, and the Kennedy/Byrd votes are, of course, not a given.

This leaves Democrats with a few options. One is to head back to the drawing board and get those nasty CBO numbers under wraps so as to appeal to moderates. Another is to sign on to one of any number of the bi-partisan alternatives floating around. And another, theoretically, is to utilize the reconciliation rule.

Continue reading ‘Health Care Reform and the Great Reconciliation Hoax’

About the Author

Brian Eason is a University of Missouri graduate with bachelor degrees in Journalism and Political Science. He has covered Congressional elections and local government for the Columbia Missourian and worked as a general assignment reporter for the State Journal-Register in Springfield, IL. Brian has also had articles published in Roll Call.