The Corn Ultimatum
July 28, 2011
On August 13, the Iowa State campus in Ames will become the center of the political universe, as thousands of Republicans participate in what is frequently ballyhooed as the season’s most important campaign event. The GOP activists will wolf down free barbecue, enjoy musical acts, watch their children be diverted by clowns, cheer political speeches, and cast ballots in a mock election designed to preview next February’s Iowa caucuses. We are, of course, talking about the Iowa Straw Poll.
If Obama Can't Get A Tax Cut, He Has An Issue
June 15, 2011
Brian Beutler reports that Republicans sound opposed to President Obama's plan to temporarily cut payroll taxes: In a briefing with reporters in the Capitol Tuesday, the House and Senate GOP conference chairs said they're through with short-term stimulus measures, even if they take the form of tax cuts. "Well they've tried this once, and it hasn't seemed to be working," said Rep.
April 16, 2011
Ever since Michele Bachmann announced her intention to form a presidential exploratory committee, pundits, including Ed Kilgore at TNR, have been making the case that she has a good chance at winning Iowa—or if not winning, then doing well enough to hurt one or more of the stronger candidates. Republican caucus-goers in the state, they argue, are at least half-nuts, and therefore may well support Bachmann or some other candidate who doesn’t pass conventional standards of seriousness. Certainly, Iowa Republicans are very socially conservative, more so than in some other states.
Senate Dems Throw In the Towel
January 24, 2011
Last month, every member of the Senate Democratic caucus signed a letter signalling support for reforms that would end anonymous holds and force the minority to actually mount a continuous debate if it wanted to block a bill, rather than require a supermajority vote even to begin a debate: All Democratic senators returning next year have signed a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., urging him to consider action to change long-sacrosanct filibuster rules. The letter, delivered this week, expresses general frustration with what Democrats consider unprecedented obstruction and as
Lamar Alexander Embarrasses Himself
January 04, 2011
Lamar Alexander is a Senator who very much wants to be taken seriously, but his speech in defense of the filibuster delivered at the Heritage Foundation today proves merely why he shouldn't be. Here is how Alexander sets up his argument: Voters who turned out in November are going to be pretty disappointed when they learn the first thing some Democrats want to do is cut off the right of the people they elected to make their voices heard on the floor of the U.S. Senate.
Health Care Repeal Update
September 08, 2010
Health care reform repeal activist Michael Tanner complains that none of the Democrats who voted against the Affordable Care Act have signed on to repeal. Meanwhile, Republicans are decidedly lukewarm: Among the six Republicans who have not signed either discharge petition are senatorial candidates Mark Kirk in Illinois and Mike Castle in Delaware.
Packer On The Broken Senate
August 03, 2010
In George Packer's excellent New Yorker piece about the Senate's dysfunction, Lamar Alexander is quoted at the end offering a rebuttal: None of the Republicans I spoke to agreed with the contention that the Senate is “broken.” Alexander claimed that he and other Republicans were exercising the moderating, thoughtful influence on legislation that the founders wanted in the Senate. “The Senate wasn’t created to be efficient,” he argued.
No Climate Bill? Then No Nukes, Either.
August 02, 2010
Remember when people were all excited about the coming nuclear renaissance? About how the first new wave of reactors since the 1970s were on their way? It looks like the climate bill's slow death in the Senate is putting all that in peril: Constellation Energy and the French EDF Group say they're committed to building an enormous nuclear-power plant next to the one Constellation already operates at Calvert Cliffs on the Chesapeake Bay. But the $9 billion project looks less and less certain with each month that goes by.
This post might get a tad wonky, but bear with me, it's important. Politico is reporting today on a critical development in the Senate energy-bill talks. Remember, a cap on carbon pollution isn't dead yet. There's still a strong possibility that Harry Reid will include a cap-and-trade system that just covers electric utilities in the final climate bill. But before he can do that he needs to get utilities on board.
Last Friday I offered a rather condescending reply to Lamar Alexander's Wall Street Journal op-ed on climate change. A member of his staff has convinced me that Alexander's point was more coherent than I gave him credit for. Alexander wrote, "Stop pretending wind power has anything to do with reducing America's dependence on oil. Windmills generate electricity—not transportation fuel." I ridiculed the second sentence, given that Alexander had just touted his goal of electrifying half of the U.S.