DADT Repeal Fails, Senate Hits A New Low
December 09, 2010
At this point, it's hard to overstate just how dysfunctional and inane the U.S. Senate is. Earlier today, Don't Ask, Don't Tell repeal was shot down by a 57-40 vote. In other words, 57 senators were in favor of repeal, 40 were opposed—and the thing still failed. Okay, fine, plenty of critics have decried the fact that the filibuster gets overused and you need 60 votes to pass even the smallest piece of legislation in the Senate. Set that aside.
Never Let Go, Harry
December 09, 2010
Democrats in the 111th Congress still have an unfinished agenda. Republicans, quite sensibly, are using the clock as a weapon; at this point of the session, even a filibuster that doesn’t have the votes to block cloture can still be enough to derail something. What weapons does the majority have to fight stalling? Well, there’s one big one that Harry Reid should be at least threatening, and if necessary invoking: he can add more hours for the Senate to work its will. He has already scheduled a Saturday session last week, and he has already said that, like last year, he’ll go up to Christmas.
It's Time for Harry Reid to Nuke the Senate
December 02, 2010
Greg Sargent has been reporting today about Jeff Merkley's new filibuster reform plan; in an update, Sargent writes about the question of how many votes it would take to change Senate rules (see here for my reaction to the substance of Merkley's proposal).
Bush's Legacy on AIDS--and Ours
December 01, 2010
On the train this morning I thought back to a grad school lunch I attended long ago with Randy Shilts. He noted that he would be out for coffee with someone, notice a blotch on the man's forehead, and then quietly register that yet another friend would probably be dead in six months. Shilts died not long after that, one of almost 600,000 Americans who have died of AIDS. You won't hear this from me every day—virtually any day, ever. I hope President Obama, Harry Reid, and John Boehner read George W. Bush's op-ed this morning in Washington Post.
Bang or Whimper?
November 15, 2010
WASHINGTON—The lame-duck session of Congress that kicks off this week will test whether Democrats have spines made of Play-Doh, and whether President Obama has decided to pretend that capitulation is conciliation. Congress faces an enormous amount of unfinished business, largely because of successful GOP obstruction tactics during the regular session. Republican senators who declare themselves moderate helped block action on important bills, objecting either to provisions they didn't like or to Democratic procedural maneuvers. Thus did Sens.
Change in the Senate?
November 10, 2010
This is part 2 in a three-part series on the prospects for government reform in the coming year. Part 1 ran yesterday. Ah, here we go. This is what everyone wants to hear about, especially liberals. Are we in for a reformed Senate in 2011-2012? Quick answer? Maybe, on nominations. Not likely, on bills. I'll go through an argument for that position, and then suggest why a January vote on reform might be a mistake, and what Harry Reid should do, starting in the lame duck session, to move reform forward.
Inside The Democrats' Tax Cut Clusterf*ck
November 09, 2010
Jackie Calmes has a great reported piece explaining just how Democrats in Congress blew the easiest issue in the world, how to extend the Bush tax cuts: A year ago this month, political and economic advisers at the White House first held a series of meetings on what to do about the tax cuts in the coming year. There was no consensus; advisers would shift positions with time and circumstances. And a vicious circle took hold, according to interviews over past months with Democrats in the administration and Congress: Mr.
What If Democrats "Steal" The Election?
October 28, 2010
Aside from the general enthusiasm gap, I've noticed two major differences in the way Republicans and Democrats are approaching the prospects of the 2010 election.
October 18, 2010
-- John Judis shows how Jerry Brown reinvented himself. -- Nicolas Lemann profiles Harry Reid. -- Ezra Klein picks five people Obama should hire right now.
Reid My Lips: Last Night Was a Disaster
October 15, 2010
Why Harry Reid agreed to have a debate with Sharron Angle is a bit of a mystery to me. If your campaign is based on portraying your opponent as loony, then why give that opponent a chance to look reasonable? Lyndon Johnson never debated Barry Goldwater. Then again, I’m no political strategist. And neither, I’ve come to see, is Harry Reid. So let’s focus on what matters now: that a debate was held in Nevada last night between Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and his Republican challenger Sharron Angle.