Paul Tullis's Grim Tidings

Bitter musings on politics and policy

Posts Tagged ‘harry reid

Midterm Elections: Is the Shine Wearing Off the Tea Party?

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Latest polls:

In the California Senate race, Barbara Boxer now has an 8 point lead, widening the spread from 2 back in March.

Just a few weeks ago, Meg Whitman had a 7-point lead over Jerry Brown. Now, after Whitman has poured tens of millions more dollars into attack ads which factcheckers have called disgraceful in their inaccuracy, Brown has a 5 point lead.

In Pennsylvania, Twoomey had a 10-point lead; it’s now tied at 45 each.

Rand Paul/Conway: was once more than a 15 point lead for Paul, now Conway—a Democrat in Kentucky—is just 2 points behind.

Majority Leader Harry Reid, a top target of the GOP, was tied with the Tea Part challenger Angle; now Reid has a 5 point lead.

This reminds me that in 1951, Frank Sinatra’s record label had just dropped him. He was walking past a theater where Eddie Fischer was performing; Fischer fans taunted Sinatra.

Who gave Eddie Fischer a thought between the 1950’s and last week, when he died?

The point is this: Americans love the new new thing. The Tea Party was a sexy fad. Now the shine has worn off, and people are realizing what they are: inexperienced extremists with no vision for how to run the country except to grind government to a halt at the moment its citizens need it more than since…what, 1957, when the National Guard started integrating southern schools?

Prediction: The midterm elections will have the usual ruling-party losses, but nothing more. Forget about the GOP taking the House or Senate. Obama’s mandate renewed, and hopefully his confidence restored so he can end the Bush tax cuts for the rich and ram cap-and-trade down their fucking throats the way Cheney did with the giant welfare-for-polluters act known as the Energy Bill of 2005.



Written by ptullis

September 29, 2010 at 3:39 pm

How to end obstruction by filibuster

with 2 comments

The reason the Senate now requires 60 votes to pass a law is because of unforeseen consequences of a long-ago change in Senate rules implemented by Robert Byrd, I learned from Ezra Klein’s blog. Used to be, a filibuster ground all work to a halt. It was the nuclear option—which is why it was only employed in matters of the gravest importance, such as when Strom Thurmond and others wanted to make sure African-Americans remained second-class citizens.

Byrd introduced “dual tracking,” by which the Senate for the first time became able to consider more than one bill at a time. Suddenly, a commenter of Klein’s writes,

filibusters became almost pain-free. A Senator simply had to announce they intended to filibuster and the Majority Leader would use his dual track authority to move to other business and get around the road block. Over time, most leaders simply did a whip check and declined to schedule a bill if a filibuster was possible.

Klein adds,

Both Hill experts and political scientists argue that the reason [this has been allowed to stand], basically, is that…ending the dual tracking would be the same as shutting down the government. It would be a high-stakes showdown over a Senate rule change, which is not something that many in the Senate have evinced much interest in attempting.

I’ve got a simple solution: The Senate Majority leader declines to use dual track authority, and forces the other side to filibuster.

There was a time, before C-Span, when Senators opposed to some bill they found particularly heinous literally held the floor for 18 or 24 hours at a time. Let’s see them try that today. How do you think it’d look? Like Newt Gingrich shutting down the government in 90-whatever-it-was, that’s how.

Here’s another way to get around a filibuster of the health-care bill: The Majority Leader brings to the floor another bill the 40-vote group won’t vote for. Say, a 95% income tax on Senators from the minority party. A ban on Viagra.

Then what are they gonna do?

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Written by ptullis

January 22, 2010 at 12:05 am

What does Harry Reid have to apologize for?

with one comment

It’s not entirely clear to me that Reid, in his remarks, was not adopting the speech of a person who might feel the way he described, rather than the way he himself feels. And if the latter, the only thing he might apologize for is the use of the antiquated term “Negro,” which some find offensive given its roots in the slave trade (among other reasons).

Implying that Obama’s response to Reid’s comment, as some have done by comparing them, should be consistent with his response to earlier comments by Trent Lott (Strom Thurmond was right to oppose civil rights, which are the cause of many of the problems we have today [to paraphrase]) and Don Imus’s (the Rutgers championship basketball team is composed of ugly prostitutes), is itself more offensive than Reid’s comment.

Reid was stating an unfortunate fact of the absurd degree to which race continues to define our society, and some people’s place in it. Lott was endorsing apartheid, which, even if he was joking, is repulsive (especially for a national leader). Imus was misogynistically debasing a group of accomplished individuals based on their appearance, using a significant, derogatory and racially-specific term to do so.

No contest.

Just found that Mark Kleiman said essentially the same thing before I did, not to my knowledge. I say this in the interest of disclosure, not self-aggrandizement.

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Written by ptullis

January 10, 2010 at 5:55 pm