On a day normally devoted to examining the past, there's one bit of news affecting the political future. The Democratic Change Commission, set up during last year's Democratic National Convention to deal with accumulated grievances about the presidential nominating process, forwarded its recommendations to the party's Rules and Bylaws Committee. In an extraordinarily unsurprising move, the commission recommended killing the independent voting status of convention superdelegates. In other words, they'll still get a ticket to the convention, and a vote, but will now be dubbed National Pledged
In response to Ezra Klein's high-profile campaign to encourage an assault on the filibuster, and the invidious development of a de facto 60-vote requirement for passage of legislation in the Senate, the estimable conservative reporter Byron York comes up with a clever but wrong-headed rationalization for past GOP efforts to kill Democratic filibusters against the Bush administration's judicial nominees. Republicans were not, claims York, endorsing a general end to the right of a minority to obstruct legislation via filibusters: The argument was that the judicial filibuster undermined the Sena
For southern Democrats, the news that freshman Rep. Parker Griffith of Alabama was switching parties brought back bad memories from the 1990s, when a goodly number of elected officials from the region who had been Democrats for no particular reason other than political convenience became Republicans for no particular reason other than political convenience. But the exodus of party-switchers back then was both natural and healthy, painful as it was. Jay Cost of RealClearPolitics seems to think, or hope, that Griffith's flip-flop could touch off another wave of party-switching.
TNR published a piece I did the other day examining the ideological underpinnings of the left/center split in the Democratic Party over the propriety of a universal health care system based on regulated and subsidized private health insurers. I suggested there was a burgeoning, if questionably workable, tactical alliance between “social-democratic” progressives and some conservatives to derail much of the Obama overall agenda.
In a post yesterday, I argued that some intra-progressive fights reflect ideological differences, particularly over the role of private-sector entities in pursuing progressive policy goals, that need to be taken more seriously, in part because failing to acknowledge them often makes such fights nasty exercises in name-calling and character attacks. There's another broad area where differences of opinion often originate, and that must be understood as well: differing political strategies. Two Examples of Strategic Disconnect Consider two examples: Democratic political operatives and progressive
The latest intra-progressive dustup over health care reform displays a couple of pretty important potential fault lines within the American center-left. One has to do with political strategy, and the role of the Democratic Party and the presidency in promoting progressive policy goals and social movements. Like others engaging in the traditional year-end essays, I'll be writing about that subject extensively in the coming days. But the other potential fault line is ideological, and is sometimes hard to discern because it extends across a variety of issues.
If you've been following the Copenhagen process this week, you may have noticed that the "debate" over climate change and what to do about it has regressed. Whereas, just a few years ago, George W. Bush acknowledged the human role in global warming and John McCain was a leading proponent of climate-change legislation, know-nothingism is now resurgent.
In case you missed it, once-and-maybe-future presidential candidate Mike Huckabee traveled to Calgary, Alberta, Canada the other day and delivered himself of an address (according to his own pre-speech account, reported in the local press) focused on the terrible temptation of conservatives in the United States to tolerate diverse points of view, under the shorthand of a "Big Tent." That would be bad, said Huck, struggling from afar against the vast forces calling for ideological heterodoxy within the Republican Party. As someone who adores our Neighbors to the North, and has made speeches th
At fivethirtyeight.com, Professor Tom Schaller offers an interesting explanation of the recent obsession of Republicans with resisting any second look at health care costs for seniors. It's just a matter of identity politics, he says: Republicans point at Democrats in Congress and the White House and charge that they and they health care reform plans must be stopped because (a) they are going to cut seniors’ Medicare; and (b) they are going to institute “death panels” to pull the plug on seniors.
An explosive political scandal in my home state of Georgia serves as a reminder that in state elections in 2010, there are many Republicans who are currently in control of statehouses, and could suffer the vicissitudes associated with malfeasance in office and a surly, wrong-track-dominated electorate. Georgia's Republican House Speaker Glenn Richardson resigned today, a few days after his ex-wife in a television interview said she knew for a fact that the conservative solon had conducted an extramarital affair with a utilities lobbyist even as he championed legislation highly beneficial to t