November 06, 2008
Only two days after the election and already the daggers are drawn: Henry Waxman's going to challenge John Dingell for the chairmanship of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Why? Well, Waxman is considerably more aggressive about tackling greenhouse-gas emissions than Dingell, who, after all, represents automakers in Detroit and has long taken a more leisurely approach to climate legislation.
Which Senator holds the most sway over Barack Obama's domestic policy agenda? The answer probably isn't Hillary Clinton, Ted Kennedy, or even Harry Reid. Instead, as Ezra Klein points out in a lengthy feature piece today, it's probably Max Baucus. Baucus is chairman of the Senate Finance Commitee, whose jurisdiction includes virtually any legislation that requires raising or lowering taxes. Middle class tax cuts. Universal health insurance. Cap-and-trade.
November 05, 2008
And Now, The Hard Part
WASHINGTON -- The social coalition put together by Barack Obama signifies a political realignment that may well have replaced the one that started with Richard Nixon, reached its zenith with Ronald Reagan and appears to have expired with George W. Bush. Whether Obama's coalition is long-lasting or ephemeral will depend on how he himself interprets it.
America the Liberal
Even before the final results showing a Democratic sweep were in, Washington's pundits were declaring that nothing had really changed politically in the country. In a cover story labeled "AMERICA THE CONSERVATIVE," Newsweek editor Jon Meacham warned that, "[s]hould Obama win, he will have to govern a nation that is more instinctively conservative than it is liberal." Meacham's judgment was echoed by Peter Wehner, a fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.
Yes, We Did
WASHINGTON -- Yes, it is time to hope again.Time to hope that the era of racial backlash and wedge politics is over. Time to imagine that the patriotism of dissenters will no longer be questioned and that the world will no longer be divided between "values voters" and those without a moral compass. Time to expect that ideological labels will no longer be enough to disqualify a politician.Above all, it is time to celebrate the country's wholehearted embrace of democracy reflected in the intense engagement of Americans in this campaign and the outpouring to the polls all over the nation.
The next Larry Summers ... or Larry Summers.
The Foreign TV Watch
Election Day found me across the Atlantic in France, but like any good American, I was glued to the television. The only difference was the time (six hours in advance of New York) and the faces, voices, and languages on the screen. CNN International, BBC World, Al Jazeera English, and dozens of French stations were at my disposal. Let’s start with France, where, unlike on CNN, they didn’t need gizmos ranging from holograms to Magic Maps to smell an Obama victory before the sun rose in America on Tuesday.
The First 100 Days, Energy Edition
The New York Times' new energy blog has a useful roundtable of energy experts pondering what Obama's victory will mean for energy policy. Among other points, Dan Weiss of the Center for American Progress has some advice for the first 100 days: The most immediate priorities should include: 1) Enactment of an economic stimulus package that includes clean energy measures that will increase jobs, while decreasing energy use and bills. This would include funds for weatherization of schools and low-income homes, pending transit projects and other similar efficiency programs.
Not All Bad News For Women
I appreciated Kate’s thoughtful post on how painful it’s occasionally been to be a woman during this race. Having supported Clinton early on in the race, then switched over, I was disappointed that Obama made no mention of her run in his acceptance speech last night. Still, it bears pointing out that, in fact, women did make some small steps forward yesterday.
Notes On Stevens And Prop. 8
-- In my (seemingly premature) goodbye to Ted Stevens last week, I did note that strategic Republicans who wanted to keep the seat in GOP hands might vote for Stevens anyway, figuring that if his conviction is upheld on appeal and he's forced out of the Senate, the seat will at least fall to a generic (or not-so-generic) Republican.