United States Senate

Dodd and Man

Washington—When it comes to the role and functioning of the United States Senate, my rather dyspeptic views could not be more at odds with those of Chris Dodd, the Connecticut Democrat who is retiring at the end of the year.  I've reached the point where I'd abolish the Senate if I could.

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Scott Brown won a Senate seat and made himself a conservative star with the massively-successful ploy of driving around in an old car, to show that he was not as rich as he actually was. The stunt was so successful that Mitt Romney has decided to... drive around in an old car: A pickup-driving image helped put Scott Brown in the U.S. Senate, so is Mitt Romney hoping it will drive him to the White House? The 2008 Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts governor drove a beat-up pickup to a New Hampshire fundraiser Thursday night.

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Hey, it's the U.S. Senate. What did anyone expect? Harry Reid's now yanking even the stripped-down, hyper-modest energy bill from consideration until after the August recess. Republicans, along with a few Democrats like Mary Landrieu, had strongly opposed the part of the bill that would remove the liability cap for oil companies that spilled crude into the sea. But is it possible that energy legislation come back stronger than ever?

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Dumb Power

Washington–Can a nation remain a superpower if its internal politics are incorrigibly stupid? Start with taxes. In every other serious democracy, conservative political parties feel at least some obligation to match their tax policies with their spending plans. David Cameron, the new Conservative prime minister in Britain, is a leading example.  He recently offered a rather brutal budget that includes severe cutbacks.

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Edward Teller of FireDogLake suggests a right-wing primary challenge could topple Lisa Murkowski in Alaska and nominate a Tea Party candidate instead: U.S. Senate candidate, Sitka Alaska’s progressive mayor, Democrat Scott McAdams, trails U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski in polls. But Sarah Palin has endorsed Murkowski’s challenger, Tea Party Express favorite Joe Miller in the August 24th GOP primary.

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Mr. America

There are moments when Scott Brown evokes a 12-year-old boy who woke up one day in a politician’s body—as if the Tom Hanks character in Big had asked that fortune-telling machine for a Senate seat. He certainly has the 12-year-old’s vernacular. Stumping for John McCain at a small Christian college in March, the junior senator from Massachusetts opined, “If you told me five months ago that I'd be standing here in front of you, I would say, ‘You're full of it.''' He also has the 12-year-old’s gee-whiz sensibility.

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I've been writing for several months about the curious sense of disappointment afflicting liberals —the belief that they've been let down by a president who is, in fact, racking up historical achievements. Part of the reason for liberal dismay in an ahistorical understanding of how progress works. In the liberal memory, political success is bathed in golden-hued triumph. In reality, it is a grubby, stop-and-start process that looks pretty ugly up close.

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Paleo Wacko

In 1984, Ron Paul ran for the United States Senate. It was an audacious gamble. Paul, who represented Texas’s twenty-second congressional district, had to give up his safe House seat to compete in the state’s Republican Senate primary.

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Here’s some news: you can go home again. For me it’s Chicago, and I had a fervent urge to see some of the Blagojevich trial for myself. I do not know him—most likely because I left Chicago in 1977. I had, however, known two of his predecessor governors who went to the slammer for malfeasance: Dan Walker and Otto Kerner, the second of whom I met in my mother’s living room, post-indictment.

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Having passed the U.S. House of Representatives on May 28th, the America COMPETES Act, America’s flagship competitiveness legislation, will soon be debated in the U.S. Senate. The Act was originally passed in 2007 in response to mounting concern that the United States was failing to effectively compete economically with other nations, imperiling the nation’s future prosperity.  Now, a new outbreak of anxiety has engulfed the nation’s competitive standing particularly as regards the nation’s fledgling clean energy industry.

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