Family Relation

Democrats Who Voted No

A lot of holdouts from the safe-seat left, including three of ten members from Massachusetts (Delahunt, Tierney, Lynch), much of the Congressional Black Caucus (including John Lewis, Sheila Jackson-Lee, Barbara Lee, Bennie Thompson, and Bobby Rush). Also notable: Lynn Woolsey, a strong California liberal who is extremely close to Pelosi; Hawaii's Neal Abercrombie, another leading progressive; and Dennis Kucinich. A surprise yes: Oklahoma freshman second-termer Dan Boren, son of former senator David Boren, and a Democrat in a very pro-Bush area. Full roll call here.

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First, The Other Boleyn Girl, now The Duchess. If nothing else, this is a cinematic year committed to sating any and all appetites for quasi-feminist period parables, for bodices and brocade, mistresses and miscarriages, noble husbands with ignoble temperaments, the compassions and competitions of two women sharing the same man’s bed.

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It's amazing how even the cultivated and well-educated intellectuals of the right like (actually, my friend) Bill Kristol, who occasionally teaches political philosophy with Harvey Mansfield at Harvard, are eating up the slop that has been put out on the doorstep for them. There was not a single concession made to them in St. Paul, not a serious philosophical gloss that has been the pride (and prejudice) of the neoconservative theology for a quarter century. They are now egalitarians in the sense that they stoop to the biases of people with whom they never pray and never eat.

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In Alaska, it's known as Troopergate and, sometimes, Wootengate. Newly selected GOP vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin, Alaska's first female governor, has been dogged by controversy since July 11, when she fired Public Safety Commissoner Walter Monegan. At the time, a spokesperson for Palin said the 44-year-old governor wanted to take the public safety department in a new direction. Monegan said any complaints from the governor about his job performance had "never been communicated" to him. Then things started to get messy.

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Uncle Charlie, Mama Biden, Beau Biden, Malia Obama, and yes, "my friend, John McCain." The dramatis personae grows and with it, that of the protagonists, Barack and Joe, Michelle and Jill. And look who's part of it? Bill, Hill, and Chel, whom we've "known" for years. Plus John Lewis of Georgia, Bill Ayres of Hyde Park, and, like Hamlet's ghost, Martin (once Michael) King of Georgia and Lyndon Johnson who, age 21, taught Mexican-American kids in Cotulla, Texas, and prepared himself to give the great address on civil rights that caused Martin Luther King, in a distant motel room, to weep.

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All through the summer, members of Ted Kennedy’s committee staff in Washington have been feverishly preparing for an all-out effort to enact universal health care next year. They’ve been meeting with counterparts on other committees and bringing in the key stakeholders--unions, insurers, employers, doctors--to get a sense where everybody stands. They’ve also been looking closely at how Massachusetts lawmakers passed health care reform for their state, on the theory that a similar strategy might work in the U.S. Congress. And, of course, they’ve been keeping their boss in the loop.

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Michelle Obama's Class

David Kusnet was chief speechwriter for former President Bill Clinton from 1992 through 1994.

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Barack Obama is speaking in Springfield as I write this. And I think it's a pretty revealing window into the political logic* behind the selection. Obama has touted Biden's ability to get past foreign policy that's about "bluster and bad judgment." But the heavy, heavy focus is on Biden's personal story--a story of working-class roots, then overcoming the tragic death of his wife and daughter--and Biden's ability to aritculate the economic anxiety average Americans are feeling.

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Dynasties

Erudite reader E.C. checks in with a great observation: This may be your last possible moment to make useful note of this, but what do Bayh, Sebelius, and Kaine have in common?  They all come from political royalty.  Bayh's dad Birch famously served as senator from Indiana, and Sebelius's father, John Gilligan, was the governor of Ohio.  And what about harmonica-playing man of the people Tim Kaine?  Turns out his father-in-law A. Linwood Holton, Jr.

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From the fundraising email from Texas Senator John Cornyn that arrived in my inbox last night: Recently, Dallas trial lawyer and Democratic sugar daddy Fred Baron revealed that he was the financier of John Edwards’ illicit affair. In the last week there have been literally thousands of articles written about Fred Baron, but [Cornyn's Democratic challenger] Rick Noriega has been noticeably silent. Why? Because Baron, a Dallas based asbestos trial lawyer, and his wife Lisa Blue have given thousands to Noriega.

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