On Jan. 4 President Obama made several recess appointments, in effect making an independent judgment that the Senate is in recess. Senate Republicans howled in indignation that the Senate is not in recess; they’d pressured the Democratic majority to keep the Senate technically in session in order to prevent the president from appointing Richard Cordray (or anyone) director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
December 14, 2011
Political maneuvering in the payroll tax wars has gotten very complicated very fast. Yesterday the Republican-controlled House passed a payroll tax-cut extension, 234-193, that also included approval of the Keystone XL pipeline (which the president said would be a deal-breaker). House Speaker John Boehner immediately demanded that the Democratic-controlled Senate (which previously rejected its own Democratic and Republican versions of the payroll tax-cut extension, with a majority of Republicans and most Republican leaders voting against both versions) vote on the House-passed bill.
Why Are American Politicians Always Switching Religions?
December 13, 2011
If Newton Leroy Gingrich becomes the Republican candidate for president of the United States, then the 2012 election will be a contest between two men who found new religions fairly late in life. Gingrich is on his third religion: He was raised a Lutheran, later became a Southern Baptist, and in 2009 was received into the Roman Catholic church. President Obama, having been raised in an irreligious home, famously found faith as an adult in Chicago, where he was baptized in 1988 by Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr.
November 23, 2011
Just four years after he slid out of the White House as the embattled Rasputin to a flailing president, Karl Rove has reinvented himself as the dominant private citizen in the Republican Party. He is today a driving force behind both the powerful advocacy organization Crossroads GPS and its even more influential sibling, American Crossroads, the largest SuperPAC on the right.
Mormonism’s Surprisingly Deep Affinity For Progressive Politics
November 21, 2011
Matthew Bowman looks at the link between Mormonism and progressivism in this 2011 article.
Shame Of The Leaders
November 16, 2011
Okay, now the Washington Post is framing imminent super committee failure as a failure of leadership--not by the super committee itself, mind you, but by the president and the congressional leaders. On Nov. 15, eight days before the anticipated sequestration apocalypse, Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell "scurried home for the night" at 7 p.m. Like cockroaches! "Boehner," the Post's Paul Kane adds scornfully, "had left the building earlier in the evening." And the commander-in-chief?
The Obama Jobs Bill Held Hostage (Again)
October 21, 2011
Republicans have once again blocked President Obama’s efforts to create jobs – and, once again, they’ve done so not by voting against a proposal but by preventing a vote on the proposal from taking place. It happened Thursday night, when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid tried to end debate on the “Teachers, First Responders Back to Work Act.” As the bill’s name implies, it would send money to the states, so they can stop firing – and, ideally, start rehiring – public employees. The measure has broad support among economists but almost none among the Republicans in Washington.
Daily Deadline: What the Republicans Are Blocking
October 20, 2011
[with contributions from Matthew O'Brien and Darius Tahir] The recession may be officially over, but state governments continue to struggle. Fewer people working means fewer people paying taxes. That’s forcing states to cut their budgets, which means laying off still more people – and making a bad situation worse. Even as the private sector is adding jobs, the public sector is taking them away.
Are Senate Democrats Really That Stupid?
October 11, 2011
Are Senate Democrats really foolish enough not to line up behind President Obama's jobs bill? Quite possibly. On Tuesday night, Majority Leader Harry Reid will try to bring the newly revised package to a vote. He won't succeed, because the chamber's 47 Republicans will vote unanimously to filibuster it. And it takes only 40 to succeed. But if Reid can get just 50 Democrats to signal their support by voting to break that filibuster, then the Democrats will have a powerful rhetorical weapon.
The Senate’s Option Wasn’t “Nuclear”
October 07, 2011
Last night there was a rule change in the U.S. Senate that Republicans wasted no time in branding a "nuclear option." The phrase "nuclear option" was coined by Sen. Trent Lott (R., Miss.) in 2003 to describe a parliamentary maneuver in which the Senate could eliminate or modify the filibuster by a simple majority vote. (Under the dread Rule 22, you need 67 votes to change existing filibuster rules.