Joe Lieberman

Last month I published a piece suggesting that while the odds of a Republican takeover of the Senate were not high, the possibility could no longer be ignored. My article was not well received. Critics argued that (among my many sins), I had cherry-picked surveys, given credence to the (allegedly) fatally flawed Rasmussen results, and worst of all, ignored Nate Silver’s superior methodology. In the ensuing four weeks, a number of articles arguing roughly what I did have appeared.

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Say It Ain't So

Joe Lieberman comes out against building an Islamic Center in lower Manhattan: "I've also read some things about some of the people involved that make me wonder about their motivations. So I don't know enough to reach a conclusion, but I know enough to say that this thing is only going to create more division in our society, and somebody ought to put the brakes on it," he said.

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Activists at last week’s Netroots Nation talked about disappointment and disillusionment. The polls show a slow, steady decline in support for the president among Democrats. Neither sample captures perfectly the state of the liberal mind this summer, but you’d have to be pretty oblivious not to see that President Obama, and the Democrats, are losing the love of their base. It’s a somewhat predictable decline, given lofty expectations for the Obama presidency and the stubbornly slow recovery.

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Via The Hill, a research note from FBR Capital sums up everything you need to know about where the energy-bill talks stand: "Senate scheduled to debate something next week." Yup, something. No one knows what will be in the bill yet. Reid is scheduled to meet with the Democratic caucus on Thursday; Kerry and Lieberman are asking for an extension so that they can try to salvage a utility-only cap; and it's likely that the whole debate could get pushed back until after August recess. The biggest danger, at this point, is that Republicans will run out the clock on energy legislation.

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How many times in the past year have journalists written some variant of, "Hey, we should be getting an energy bill sometime in the next week"? Too many to count, right? So it's probably unwise to make any bold predictions this time around. But Senate Democrats do seem to be getting closer to unveiling a brand-new energy bill, with the aim of getting it passed before the August recess. What's going to be in it? Well, that's the tricky part. No one knows for sure. Harry Reid's office is trying to cobble something together this week, and there's a lot of guessing.

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I apologize in advance to all Manchester United fans, including, but not limited to, my brother, his son, Alex Ferguson, and the majority of the 79,005 people on the last day of July, 2003, who traipsed to the hateful Giants Stadium in Rutherford, New Jersey, to watch the Reds play Juventus in a pre-season friendly. I apologize because I’m about to state that the best player in this South African World Cup—and the best player by far—is none other than Diego Forlan. My hand doth shake to even type such a claim; I should probably drink deeply of some kind of poison, and thank god that’s not a da

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Politico details the Republican turn against cap and trade: Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), under pressure back home from a conservative primary challenger, hasn’t come anywhere close to the climate issue that was once a key component of his “maverick” credentials. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), who joined Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) on cap-and-trade legislation in 2008, challenged the Obama administration earlier this month by forcing a floor vote that would have removed EPA’s authority to write its own carbon rules. Sen.

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My blog post last week describing the liberal tendency to imagine that obstacles like, oh, a lack of votes for a bill in the Senate can be overcome by presidential willpower, a stirring speech, or even an executive order.

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Pelosi vs. Reid

The usually astute historian Julian Zelizer, writing in Dissent, manages to cram a couple major misconceptions into one sentence here: While Howard Dean’s 50-state strategy in 2006 and 2008 resulted in more congressional Democrats emanating from conservative districts, Pelosi (unlike Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid) has not allowed this broader coalition to become a crippling barrier to legislative victory. First, the degree to which Howard Dean's 50-state strategy contributed to Democratic successes in 2006 and 2008 is highly debatable.

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Once upon a time, Lindsey Graham was the great conservative hope for passing climate-change legislation. He helped draft a (decent, if imperfect) bill with John Kerry and Joe Lieberman. He gave a bunch of passionate speeches about the need to wean America off fossil fuels and cut carbon emissions. He took a lot of abuse from the Tea Party lunatics in his state but stood by the effort because, by all accounts, he thought it was an important cause worth fighting for.

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