Talking Point Memo’s Brian Beutler argues, persuasively, that this week’s tax cut votes in the Senate were a bigger deal than most of us realized. The Republicans voted to extend the Bush tax cuts for everybody, and the Democrats voted to extend them only for family income up to $250,000. It was so obvious that neither bill was going anywhere that the Republicans didn’t bother to filibuster. Predictably, the Republican bill failed, 45-54, and the Democratic bill—which has no chance of clearing the Republican-controlled House—passed, 51-48.
Talking Point Memo's Brian Beutler argues, persuasively, that this week's tax cut votes in the Senate were a bigger deal than most of us realized. The Republicans voted to extend the Bush tax cuts for everybody, and the Democrats voted to extend them only for family income up to $250,000. It was so obvious that neither bill was going anywhere that the Republicans didn't bother to filibuster. Predictably, the Republican bill failed, 45-54, and the Democratic bill--which has no chance of clearing the Republican-controlled House--passed, 51-48.
Maybe Senate Democrats aren't so stupid after all. On Tuesday evening 51 Senators* voted to end debate on President Obama's job bill, so that it could come to a vote. But although that 51 constitutes a majority of the Senate, it's well short of the 60 necessary to break filibusters. And the Republicans, as always, are filibustering. That 51 does not represent the full caucus. Two conservative Democrats facing reelection, Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Jon Tester of Montana, voted with the Republicans.
If you’ve read this blog lately, you’ve read a lot of criticism of Republicans for talking economic nonsense, placing their political fortunes ahead of the country’s good, or some combination of the two. But sometimes Democrats, particularly conservative Democrats, do the same things. And now is one of those times. Mary Landrieu and Jim Webb – I’m looking at you. An article by Manu Raju, in Politico, quotes the three senators criticizing Obama’s jobs proposal.
By his own account, George Allen didn’t have much fun in his first and only term in the U.S. Senate, which, he once complained, moves “at the pace of a wounded sea slug.” Even less fun, however, was the dramatic flameout that took place during his 2006 campaign for reelection. First, New Republic reporter Ryan Lizza discovered a high school yearbook photo featuring a teenage Allen with a Confederate flag pin attached to his collar. Then, a few months later, Allen was caught on tape calling a South Asian Democratic campaign worker “macaca.” Suddenly, Allen had a race problem.
Why is Obama giving Republicans an extension of upper income tax cuts when polls show Americans overwhelmingly oppose them? Maybe because those polls don't translate into leverage on Capitol Hill. Political scientist and blogger Brendan Nyhan makes the case: First, public opinion in more conservative states is likely to be less favorable to Obama's original position than national polls.
A few days ago I wrote about the bizarre sense of disappointment among liberals with the Obama administration, which has rung up the most impressive list of progressive domestic achievements since the Johnson administration. A reader who would like to withhold his name for professional reasons has a thoughtful reply. I'm posting it here, with my own thoughts hopefully to follow next week: What I found frustrating was the claim that the "sheer sullenness of the liberal base does seem to be avoidable and puzzling," which echoes the views Allen & VandeHei attribute this a.m.
In the shadow of the intelligence failure that culminated with Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab lighting an explosive aboard a Detroit-bound flight, the titular head of the U.S. intelligence community was busy fighting another war. For months, in fact, Admiral Dennis C. Blair, the director of national intelligence (DNI), had been waging an epic bureaucratic offensive. His job had been created in the wake of September 11 to foster cooperation and accountability among the 16 agencies sifting through the mounds of inbound data about threats to U.S. interests.
From the hills outside Mandalay, Burma’s second city, the vista resembles a postcard of Asian serenity. Monks climb stone steps to a hillside shrine, where local men and women leave offerings of flowers and fruit. But the placid scene conceals one of the most repressive states in the world--a state that the Obama administration has decided may be more worthy of American friendship than American threats. For more than four decades, Burma’s junta has persecuted its population.