I shall post videos, graphs, news stories, and other material there. We shall use some of this material in class, and you may review the rest at your convenience. You will all receive invitations to post to the blog. (Please let me know if you do not get such an invitation.) I encourage you to use the blog in these ways:
To post questions or comments about the readings before we discuss them in class;
To follow up on class discussions with additional comments or questions.
To post relevant news items or videos.

There are only two major limitations: no coarse language, and no derogatory comments about people at the Claremont Colleges.

Search This Blog

Thursday, February 26, 2009

This calls for a trip to the DMV ...

By a vote of 61-37, the Senate passed a bill providing D.C. full voting representation in the House of Representatives, nearly ensuring that the measure will become law this time around. If the bill became a law, the size of the House of Representatives would increase to 437 members—one seat for DC and another for Utah. This would only give the district representation in the House.

Presently, Eleanor Holmes Norton represents D.C. but can only vote in committee, not on final matters on the House floor. The district has not had full representation since 1801.


Doctor Phil has some wisdom for Facebook users:

What is the connection to the Congress class? Simple: Facebook is a great resource for opposition researchers.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A new health care plan?

OK well, the big front-page Politico headline grabbed my attention but it turns out simply to be a 10-year $634 bil. reserve plan coming from limiting tax deductions and "efficiencies" for future reforms, which are not detailed. But it could be laying the ground for a new plan of what Obama outlined in his campaign--of course, the criticism of health care reform is that it is too expensive. Perhaps, this could be allaying future criticism on that front.

Word on the Tweet

Were you wondering what Congressmen were thinking while listening to Obama's speech last night? If you had been subscribed to their Twitter accounts, you would have known. An article in the Sydney Herald was rather critical of America's politicians. The title alone, "Politicians twitter throughout address to Congress like bored schoolchildren" reflects the tone of the article and gives you a a good idea of what it is about. The article makes one think about the use of technology, especially BlackBerrys, by those governing our Nation. President Obama was unwilling to give his BlackBerry up when he became president and clearly some Congressmen are addicted to them as well. The article is short but insightful and at points will certainly make you laugh. The Huffington Post has a slightly less disapproving article, "Impolite or Not, Congress Twittered While Obama Spoke".
Also, for background information on Twitter, Wikipedia on "Twitter"
To see if your Congressman twitters, check here

A few quotes from last night that are relevant to the recent Baker reading:

Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY): "Sitting in my seat on House Floor. Had to arm wrestle for it. Colleagues get very possesive about where they sit. Bruises and welts." - 2/24, 8:24 PM

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR): "Location! Presiding today I delivered message no more reserving seat by taping your name. Have to be there. And they are, early." - 2/24, 8:28 PM

Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX): "Somehow the best seats are reserved for the Senators." - 2/24, 8:33 PM

The Myth of the Filibuster

An interesting little commentary on senate procedure, and why unfortunately we won't see Republicans forced into an all night spectacle with a filibuster.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Committee List

Investigative Hearing on Walter Reed

Ledbetter Hearing


House vs. Senate

Towards the end of Ryan Lizza's profile of Rahm Emanuel (long, but well worth the read) is this tidbit about the final negotiations on the stimulus. The passage shows the impact of the differences between the House and the Senate, and the power of individual senators

“Emanuel laughed as he recounted the final sticking point in the negotiations. It was not, as many people have thought, an argument between the five centrist senators—Ben Nelson, Joe Lieberman, Collins, Snowe, and Specter—and the House but a debate among the centrists themselves. The dispute was over a formula for how Medicaid funds in the bill would be allocated to the states. In the House version of the legislation, fifty per cent of the funds would go to all states and fifty per cent would go to states with high unemployment. In the Senate, where rural interests are more dominant, the formula was 80-20. A deal had been reached between the two chambers to split the difference and make the formula 65-35. “Everybody signed except for Ben Nelson,” Emanuel said. “He wants 72-28, or seventy-two and a half, and he says, ‘I’m not signing this deal.’ Specter says, ‘Well, I am not agreeing with you.’ ” Without Nelson, Collins wasn’t likely to vote for the deal, either. “Collins and Snowe are kind of like, at this point, looking at their shoes,” Emanuel went on, “because Specter says, ‘Well, why make it seventy-two? What do you mean? We all have it at sixty-five, in the middle.’ ” Emanuel politely declared that the formula would stay at 65-35. He then asked Nelson to step out of the room with him. After a brief conversation in the hallway, they returned, and Nelson agreed to the stimulus package.”

Monday, February 23, 2009

In the Spirit of our Last Essay

A slew of formidable female candidates, mostly Democrats, are lining up to run for the Senate in 2010, enough to raise the prospect of a surge of women into a chamber that currently has just 17 women senators. Read more...

And the recount continues...

As reported by the Minnesota Public Radio, the Coleman/Franken recount continues with both candidates focuses on absentee ballots. Coleman's latest argument is that different counties count similar ballots differently, creating a systematic bias in the system. He wants to create a set standard by which the state handles absentee ballots, which involves counting currently rejected ballots and rejecting others that are currently accepted.

With Words We Govern

Stylistic comments:

Legislative Research

Bill Drafting


Thursday, February 19, 2009

RNC chair plans 'off the hook' campaign, tells critics to ‘stuff it’

Michael Steele in his latest master plan to recruit the 'urban hip-hop culture.' Short of enlisting Ludacris and 50 Cent to bash the stimulus, I'm not sure what Steele's approach is going to be here. Appealing to the 'urban hip-hop culture' probably isn't something the party of country-club-loving Nascar-watching Country-music-listening rich people can do overnight. Also, one-armed midgets? Come on.

More Burris - It's not looking good for him

From Politico's The Huddle:

A sure sign your political career has gone over a cliff: When the no. 2 leader of the Senate - from your own party -- calls your hometown paper from Turkey to tell them that your 'future in the Senate is uncertain.'

This is what Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) told the Chicago Tribune yesterday about Sen. Roland Burris: 'I'm troubled by the fact that his testimony was not complete and it was unsatisfactory. It wasn't the full disclosure under oath that we were asking for. ... At this point, his future in the Senate seat is in question.'

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Congress could have used this:

Here is a way to try and figure out where every billion is going.

"How Congress Actually Works"

A classic SNL skit about Gingrich and the Republican Revolution. It gives a fairly good impression of the role of the minority in the House.

The House Minority Leader Reacts to the Stimulus

Presidential Rankings

Honest Abe Lincoln takes his humble spot at the top.

Bush only 36 out of 42 in one arena.

Check out the snapshot right here, right now!

What is in the stimulus?

This article again illustrates that our Congress cannot read entire bills. Obviously, the 1000+ page stimulus could not have been read within the ten hours of time between the final draft and the vote. The nearly $800 billion stimulus has lost its course as it no longer involves only jobs, infrastructure and tax cuts. Unfortunately, it is now to late for Congress to read the bill that is meant to help save our economy.

Congressional approval allegedly jumps

Congressional approval ratings are up to a whopping 31%. The latest Gallup poll, taken before the passage of the stimulus, has the rating at its highest point in two years. Unfortunately, the gains are almost entirely due to Democrats increasing their favorable numbers, not Republicans or Independents jumping on the bandwagon. The country remains polarized as ever, and the data indicates that Republicans are digging in their heels.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Burris Update

CMC alum Andy Barr reports in The Politico:
In another damaging drib-drab admission, Sen. Roland Burris (D-Ill.) acknowledged Monday that he did, in fact, try to raise money for then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D-Ill.) at the request of the governor’s brother – and that he did so while trying to get Blagojevich to appoint him to Barack Obama’s Senate seat.
The Chicago Tribune explains why this admission is big trouble:
In comments to reporters after appearing at a Democratic dinner, the senator several times contradicted his latest under-oath affidavit that he quietly filed with the Illinois House impeachment panel earlier this month. That affidavit was itself an attempt to clean up his live, sworn testimony to the panel Jan. 8, when he omitted his contacts with several Blagojevich insiders.

The Illinois perjury statute is here.

A felony indictment or conviction does not automatically mean removal from the Senate. Under the Constitution, it takes a two-thirds vote to expel a member. The Senate has done so only fifteen times.

Nevertheless, those applying for the Washington Semester should not plan on an internship with Burris.

New DSCC Chair Projects 2010 Success

New DSCC Chair, Robert Menendez, projects Democratic success in the 2010 Senate elections. With 19 Republican and only 17 Democratic seats up in November 2010 Menendez is optimistic. The five retiring Republicans, as discussed in class, are also likely to help Democrats retain or gain seats. One glitch could come from the Economy. Specifically, with only three Republicans voting for the Stimulus Package, if it fails to help, all the blame will go to the Dems. Menendez, however, expects that regardless of the specific outcomes, not acting—voting no, will inevitable hurt the Republicans among voters.

New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/18/us/politics/17web-nagourney.html?_r=1&hp

Monday, February 16, 2009

What constitutes a successful legislative fight as a minority in the House

I'm not exactly sure how the stimulus passing represents success for House Republicans in the minority, but Eric Cantor (House minority whip) tries to make it one here based on party unity. I'll let the video speak for itself.

Hill Style and Home Style

Hill Style: Sen. Tester schedule

A House staff:

Dreier homepage

Hill Style Meets Home Style: Better Know a District:

Congressional Leadership

The Best They Could Do

The whole skit is representative of SNL's semi-recent downfall, but the first couple of minutes are marginally amusing and certainly relevant to recent discussions.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

There must be somthing in the water in Illinois...

The Honorable (or not) Senator Roland Burris, appointed by former Governor and future felon Rod Blagojevich, is currently "under an ethical cloud" according to Politico.

One of the conditions of Burris' appointment was that he testify to the investigating committee that he had not been approached by Blago for campaign contributions. Burris testified that he had not been approached.

He later submitted an affidavit stating that he had been approached by the Governor's brother, and asked to contribute.

If what is being reported in the story is true, then it seems pretty clear that Burris committed perjury.

Eric Cantor and Newt Gingrich

Interesting article from the New York Times (technically the International Herald Tribune)that relates to this week's reading about both leadership in the House and Newt Gingrich's style. The article compares current Minority Whip Eric Cantor to Newt Gingrich, but it also comments on how "Cantor is certainly different from Gingrich in some significant ways."

Number 59

Politico has a story about why the Republicans are so opposed to seating Al Franken.

I'm having trouble pasting the quote I want in, but the author wrote that without Franken and TK still ill, Dems need two out of three Senate Republican moderates (Snowe, Collins and Specter) to get to 60. If he is seated, they just need one.

This prospect, understandably, gives Republicans every reason to prolong the fight for Coleman, or at least, to keep Franken out of it.
At the same time, Democrats would need to keep their own moderates from defecting. Nevertheless, the story underlines the point that 60 is the magic number.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Did Reid Roll Pelosi?

A timely example of Senate versus House.

Glenn Thrush
February 11, 2009

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid played a little high-stakes chicken with each other at the tail end of Wednesday’s shotgun stimulus talks.

It’s not clear who won – or who blinked.

According to a half dozen Congressional aides and members, Reid went before the cameras Wednesday to announce a stimulus deal before Pelosi had agreed on all the details of school construction financing.

“It’s ruffled feathers, big time,” said a House Democrat speaking on condition of anonymity. “The speaker went through the roof.”

Added one House Democratic aide: “He tried to roll her and she knew it.”

A few minutes after Reid announced the deal, Senate Appropriations Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) convened a public meeting of the House-Senate conference committee.

It was supposed to be a glorified photo op. But there were no House Democrats in the room – and Inouye hastily announced the meeting would be scrapped pending a Pelosi “briefing” of members on the details.

The problem, according to people familiar with the situation, was that Pelosi hadn’t completely signed off on the Senate’s approach to restoring some of the $21 billion in school construction funding. House Democrats are pushing to have school-repair funding listed as a recurring expense; Senate Republicans want such an allocation to be a one-time-only deal.

The approach adopted by the Senate still infuriates many members of her caucus, and Pelosi had yet to fully make her case to dissenters, a source told Politico.

The result: Pelosi summoned Reid to her office – her turf – to hash out unspecified modifications to the package prior to a 5:15 re-convening of the conference committee.

People close to Pelosi painted a different picture – one that portrays Reid as the one being rolled. Pelosi, they say, strategically permitted Reid to make his announcement – and then held up her approval to extract a slightly better deal.

Contradicting other sources who said that Pelosi had been blindsided, a House Democratic aide, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that Reid had placed a “head’s up” phone call to Pelosi before announcing the deal.

A Senate aide concurred, saying that Pelosi "wasn't blindsided" and "didn't say no" when Reid announced he was going public. The staffer added that Pelosi spent much of the day trying -- unsuccessfully -- to convince the three Senate Republicans to make changes.

Pelosi told reporters late Wednesday that she had some success selling the Senate on unspecified legislative language "that spoke to the purpose of school construction."

Whatever the real story, Pelosi’s members were more than a little bewildered and headed into Wednesday’s night’s negotiation singing their Kumbayas through gritted teeth.

“[Senate Democrats] don’t know everything that’s in the bill,” said a laughing Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.), chairman of the Ways and Committee. “So I’m afraid to go to that damned conference.”

Even Senate Democrats seemed a little flummoxed. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), briefing reporters after the Reid presser, stopped short of actually saying he was 100 percent sure a deal had been cut.

"There was general agreement," he said. "It doesn't mean everything is locked in yet. But if we didn't have an agreement, then there wouldn't have been a news conference."

Elections: Parties and Outcomes

Party committees:

RNC NRCC NRSC (elected)
DNC DCCC* DSCC* (appointed by leader)

Four Strategic Postures:
  • Majority/President's Party
  • Majority/Out-Party
  • Minority/Out-Party
  • Minority/President's Party

Moving Right Along

Key lawmakers reach deal on $789B stimulus bill
Buzz UpSendSharePrint
By DAVID ESPO, AP Special Correspondent – 3 mins ago
Featured Topics: Barack Obama Presidential Transition
Play Video
AP – Obama: Caterpillar can rehire if stimulus passes
Slideshow:Economic Stimulus Plan
Play VideoVideo:Will the Stimulus Plan Help You? ABC News
CAT 31.02 +0.10
^GSPC 830.37 +3.21
^IXIC 1,526.52 +1.79

AP – Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., talks with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2009. …
WASHINGTON – Moving with lightning speed, key lawmakers announced agreement Wednesday on a $789 billion economic stimulus measure designed to create millions of jobs in a nation reeling from recession. President Barack Obama could sign the bill within days.
"The middle ground we've reached creates more jobs than the original Senate bill and costs less than the original House bill," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, one of the participants in an exhausting and frenzied round of bargaining.
The bill includes help for victims of the recession in the form of unemployment benefits, food stamps, health coverage and more, as well as billions for states that face the prospect of making deep cuts in their own programs.
It also preserves Obama's signature tax cut — a break for millions of lower and middle income taxpayers, including those who don't earn enough to pay income taxes.
However, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was conspicuously absent from the news conference in which members of the Senate announced the agreement, and it was not clear whether she stayed away out of unhappiness or a scheduling conflict.
Officials had said previously that one of the final issues to be settled was money for school modernization, a priority of Pelosi as well as Obama and one on which they differed with Collins and other moderates whose votes will be essential for final Senate approval.
It was not immediately clear when final votes in the two houses would occur. A House vote was possible as early as Thursday, with the Senate to follow before lawmakers begin a scheduled weeklong vacation.
There was no immediate reaction from the White House, but the president's chief of staff and other aides were intimately involved in the negotiations that led to the agreement.
Stocks moved higher in the moments after Reid stepped to the microphone just outside the Senate chamber.
Sen. Joseph Lieberman, an independent from Connecticut, predicted the bill "will be the beginning of the turnaround for the American economy."
Reid said the legislation would create 3.5 million jobs.
Obama has been campaigning energetically for the legislation in recent days, saying it was essential to avoid having the worst economic crisis in a generation turn into a catastrophe.
As if to underscore the urgency, he said a few hours before the agreement was announced that machinery giant Caterpillar Inc. plans to rescind some of the 22,000 layoffs the firm recently announced — once the stimulus is signed into law.
The real decisions were made in Capitol office suites where Pelosi, Reid and other key lawmakers, often joined by White House officials and their own aides, worked late Tuesday night and picked up again in the morning.
Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., one of the negotiators, earlier announced agreement to hold the bill to $789 billion, tens of billions below the cost of both the House and Senate bills that had cleared in recent days, and that 35 percent of the total would be in the form of tax cuts.
The reductions in the bill's size caused grumbles among liberal Democrats, who described them as a concession to the moderates, particularly Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., who are under pressure from conservative Republicans to hold down spending.
The principal components of the emerging measure included money to help victims of the recession, as much as $44 billion in aid for states, which face cuts of their own as a result of lower tax receipts, and the president's proposed tax cut for lower and middle-income wage earners.
Negotiators tentatively agreed to include a one-time payment to recipients of Social Security, Supplemental Security Income and veterans' pensions and disability. While the size of the checks remained unsettled, officials said it would be less than the $300 originally proposed by the Senate.
Officials said there was agreement to accept the White House's call to provide the tax break to workers who pay Social Security taxes but do not earn enough to owe income taxes, although it was possible the amount would be scaled back somewhat. The president sought $500 for individuals and $1,000 for couples.
Working to accommodate the new, lower overall limit of the bill, negotiators effectively wiped out a Senate-passed provision for a new $15,000 tax credit to defray the cost of buying a home, these officials said. The agreement would allow taxpayers to deduct the sales tax paid on new car purchases, but not the interest on loans for the same vehicles.
It also appeared a compromise was in the works on the administration's demand for school construction funds.
Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, told reporters that $6 billion would be set aside, and officials said it could be spent only on repair and modernization work, a limitation designed to appease the moderates.
But officials said House Democrats were holding out for as much as $9 billion.
With numerous demands for the funds in the bill, lawmakers worked to satisfy competing demands.
A Senate-passed provision to give $10 billion to the National Institutes of Health for research — a favorite of both Harkin and Specter, appeared likely to survive.
The officials who described the negotiations did so on condition of anonymity, saying they were not authorized to disclose the details of the closed-door negotiations.
Obama has spoken out repeatedly in recent days to urge Congress to act quickly in the face of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.
"We're at the doorstep of getting this plan through Congress, but the work is not over," he said in Springfield, Va., where he visited a construction site.
Even after the measure becomes law, he said, the challenge will be to effectively make use of the funds in an "endeavor of enormous scope and scale."
Republicans, too, took note of the size of the bill, and they said it included billions that would be wasted.
The original House bill, with a price tag of $820 billion, passed without a single Republican vote.
The $838 billion Senate bill that cleared on Tuesday had the backing of only three of 41 Republicans — but that was enough to give it the 60 votes it needed.
Collins told reporters she hoped fellow GOP lawmakers would reconsider when the final compromise comes to a vote "rather than just reflexively oppose this."
She said the negotiators had "tightened and scrubbed it" to eliminate wasteful spending.
Associated Press Writers Andrew Taylor and Ben Feller contributed to this story.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

"The" Facebook

As a follow up to Monday's discussion about how the Internet has fundamentally changed campaign strategy, I thought the class might find the following article from the Washington Post amusing.
I friended Rep. Serrano on Facebook, but my request is still pending. A search for my own representative, David Dreier, on Facebook yielded no results.

The Congressman Most Likely to Accept Your Friend Request

By Mary Ann Akers And Paul Kane
Thursday, October 16, 2008; A17

Rep. Jose Serrano (D-N.Y.) is really into Facebook. We're talking about a guy who turns 65 later this month, and he doesn't even call it "the" Facebook, the way a certain other person, in the very highest echelons of government, once famously referred to "the" Google.

"I just passed 1,200 friends!" Serrano excitedly told On the Hill yesterday.

Most every member of Congress has an official Facebook fan page, marked by the same official photo of a waving American flag. But Serrano actually has his own personal Facebook page, which he operates without the help of staff. He constantly updates it, adds new photos he takes himself, and shares his thoughts on everything from the delicious avocado he ate the other day to his beloved, beleaguered Yankees to his hope that Barack Obama is elected president.

The Bronx congressman's one-line update about the avocado he bought in a Dominican neighborhood in New York actually stirred a ruckus. "I had the Bolivians telling me theirs are better. The Colombians and the Dominicans got into a debate over aguacates, started by me!" he chuckled.

"I made the decision that it wouldn't be a political page. . . . Mostly, just be me," Serrano said. Occasionally he posts updates on his political life. As of Wednesday night, his Facebook update read: "Jose E. Serrano is getting ready for a series of pro Obama radio interviews, every morning, starting tomorrow until election day."

Serrano says most of his 1,200 friends are not politicos. "Most I don't know. The vast majority are not from my district; lots are from Puerto Rico," the Puerto Rican-born politician says.

One day Serrano wrote that he was "getting ready to preside over the House." One of his friends wrote back, "So does that mean Nancy Pelosi is no longer the speaker?"

Monday, February 9, 2009

Congressional Elections: Strategy and Tactics

Strategic Communication & The Message Grid

I identify with you (Bobby Bright D-AL, open seat):

I do good stuff for you (Jim Inhofe R-OK):

My opponent is out of touch with you, in touch with bad people (DCCC v. Chris Shays):

My opponent is a crook (NRCC v. Raul Martinez):

Various uses of the Internet

Senate campaign websites.

Tentative roster of simulation roles

Pitzer Roles in Bold Italics

Environment and Public Works Committee

Committee Chair
Barbara Boxer (D-CA)

Ranking Member
James M. Inhofe (R-OK)

Democrats (8)
Harry Reid* (D-V)
Thomas Carper (D-DE)
Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ)
Benjamin Cardin (D-MD)
Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)
Tom Udall (D-NM)
*Added for simulation

Republicans (7)
George Voinovich (R-OH)
David Vitter (R-LA)
Arlen Specter (R-PA)
Mike Crapo (R-ID)
Christopher Bond (R-MO)
Lamar Alexander (R-TN)

Finance Committee

Committee Chair
Max Baucus (D-MT)
Ranking Member
Charles E. Grassley (R-IA)

Democrats (9)
John Rockefeller (D-WV)
Kent Conrad (D-ND)
Jeff Bingaman (D-NM)
John Kerry (D-MA)
Blanche Lincoln (D-AR)
Charles Schumer (D-NY)
Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)
Maria Cantwell (D-WA)

Republicans (8)
Orrin Hatch (R-UT)
Olympia Snowe (R-ME)
Jon Kyl (R-AZ)
Mitch McConnell (R-KY)*
Pat Roberts (R-KS)
John Ensign (R-NV)
John Cornyn (R-TX)
*Added for simulation

Freshman Year

Want to know what it is like to be a first year congressman? Now you can. CNN.com is producing a weekly series that follows the lives of Jared Polis, a Democrat from Colorado, and Jason Chaffetz, a Republican from Utah. The series will consist of 5-10 minute segments filmed by the congressmen themselves on Flip cameras.  Both men supplement the weekly videos with essays. 
Check out the NY Times article here or go directly to the Freshman Year page on CNN.com

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Delaware Senate Seat a Contest in 2010?

An article from The Hill shows that National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn is hoping to "broaden the appeal of the Republican Party" and make some traditionally Democratic states battlegrounds in 2010. Cornyn wants to recruit very popular Congressman Mike Castle to run for the Senate in Delaware. Could Joe Biden's seat be vulnerable? Cornyn also suggests that he is hoping to get Florida Governor Charlie Crist to run for Senate.

Where is John McCain now? *random*

I took a break from working on my essay to read the following script from johnmccain.com. I thought about the expression on his face as he walked on to the stage at the Inauguration as I read. I tried to imagine how he must have felt... At any rate, Senate Guru suggests he may not seek re-election in 2010 at the ripe-old age of 74. This may open up some opportunity for non-incumbent female democrats. In July, they speculated Janet Napolitano. Either way it goes, they suggest 2010 may be a strong year for female democrats in the senate (like 2000 and 1992).

Remarks from Senator John McCain
November 4, 2008
Thank you. Thank you, my friends. Thank you for coming here on this beautiful Arizona evening.

My friends, we have -- we have come to the end of a long journey. The American people have spoken, and they have spoken clearly. A little while ago, I had the honor of calling Senator Barack Obama to congratulate him on being elected the next president of the country that we both love.

In a contest as long and difficult as this campaign has been, his success alone commands my respect for his ability and perseverance. But that he managed to do so by inspiring the hopes of so many millions of Americans who had once wrongly believed that they had little at stake or little influence in the election of an American president is something I deeply admire and commend him for achieving.

This is an historic election, and I recognize the special significance it has for African-Americans and for the special pride that must be theirs tonight.

I've always believed that America offers opportunities to all who have the industry and will to seize it. Senator Obama believes that, too. But we both recognize that though we have come a long way from the old injustices that once stained our nation's reputation and denied some Americans the full blessings of American citizenship, the memory of them still had the power to wound.

A century ago, President Theodore Roosevelt's invitation of Booker T. Washington to dine at the White House was taken as an outrage in many quarters. America today is a world away from the cruel and prideful bigotry of that time. There is no better evidence of this than the election of an African American to the presidency of the United States. Let there be no reason now for any American to fail to cherish their citizenship in this, the greatest nation on Earth.

Senator Obama has achieved a great thing for himself and for his country. I applaud him for it, and offer in my sincere sympathy that his beloved grandmother did not live to see this day, though our faith assures us she is at rest in the presence of her creator and so very proud of the good man she helped raise.

Senator Obama and I have had and argued our differences, and he has prevailed. No doubt many of those differences remain. These are difficult times for our country, and I pledge to him tonight to do all in my power to help him lead us through the many challenges we face.

I urge all Americans who supported me to join me in not just congratulating him, but offering our next president our good will and earnest effort to find ways to come together, to find the necessary compromises, to bridge our differences, and help restore our prosperity, defend our security in a dangerous world, and leave our children and grandchildren a stronger, better country than we inherited.

Whatever our differences, we are fellow Americans. And please believe me when I say no association has ever meant more to me than that.

It is natural tonight to feel some disappointment, but tomorrow we must move beyond it and work together to get our country moving again. We fought as hard as we could.

And though we fell short, the failure is mine, not yours.

I am so deeply grateful to all of you for the great honor of your support and for all you have done for me. I wish the outcome had been different, my friends. The road was a difficult one from the outset. But your support and friendship never wavered. I cannot adequately express how deeply indebted I am to you.

I am especially grateful to my wife, Cindy, my children, my dear mother and all my family and to the many old and dear friends who have stood by my side through the many ups and downs of this long campaign. I have always been a fortunate man, and never more so for the love and encouragement you have given me.

You know, campaigns are often harder on a candidate's family than on the candidate, and that's been true in this campaign. All I can offer in compensation is my love and gratitude, and the promise of more peaceful years ahead.

I am also, of course, very thankful to Governor Sarah Palin, one of the best campaigners I have ever seen and an impressive new voice in our party for reform and the principles that have always been our greatest strength. Her husband Todd and their five beautiful children with their tireless dedication to our cause, and the courage and grace they showed in the rough-and-tumble of a presidential campaign. We can all look forward with great interest to her future service to Alaska, the Republican Party and our country.

To all my campaign comrades, from Rick Davis and Steve Schmidt and Mark Salter, to every last volunteer who fought so hard and valiantly month after month in what at times seemed to be the most challenged campaign in modern times, thank you so much. A lost election will never mean more to me than the privilege of your faith and friendship.

I don't know what more we could have done to try to win this election. I'll leave that to others to determine. Every candidate makes mistakes, and I'm sure I made my share of them. But I won't spend a moment of the future regretting what might have been.

This campaign was and will remain the great honor of my life. And my heart is filled with nothing but gratitude for the experience and to the American people for giving me a fair hearing before deciding that Senator Obama and my old friend Senator Joe Biden should have the honor of leading us for the next four years.

I would not be an American worthy of the name, should I regret a fate that has allowed me the extraordinary privilege of serving this country for a half a century. Today, I was a candidate for the highest office in the country I love so much. And tonight, I remain her servant. That is blessing enough for anyone and I thank the people of Arizona for it.

Tonight, more than any night, I hold in my heart nothing but love for this country and for all its citizens, whether they supported me or Senator Obama, I wish Godspeed to the man who was my former opponent and will be my president.

And I call on all Americans, as I have often in this campaign, to not despair of our present difficulties but to believe always in the promise and greatness of America, because nothing is inevitable here.

Americans never quit. We never surrender. We never hide from history, we make history.

Thank you, and God bless you, and God bless America. Thank you all very much.

Clogging the Bipartisanship Drains

Most frustrating for me during all of this back-and-forth with the stimulus bill is inability for either party to, for lack of a better phrase, grin and bear it. Even with unemployment at a 16 year high and interest rates basically bottoming out, Congress continues to waste time, maybe I can reevaluate this statement after Tuesday's vote.

Also interesting to see what has already been cut from the bill.

Lastly, to open it up for discussion a little bit, how much involvement should we hope to see from the government in this recovery? Should we really be "worried" about the "return of economic nationalism"?

Congress and the Stimulus

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Rahm to Oversee the Census?

Data from the Census determine redistricting and reapportionment decisions. In that light, this story from The Politico is extremely relevant to our course:

February 05, 2009

Census stripped from Gregg?

As we've been reporting for the last couple of days, the Obama administration is considering placing a buffer between Commerce Secretary Judd Gregg and the Census Bureau to alleviate concerns among black and Latino leaders that he would try to downsize census outreach efforts.

CQ's Jonathan Allen moves the ball a bit the is morning, citing unnamed administration sources saying the bureau would likely report directly to the White House.That's consistent with what we've been hearing from Hill staffers, though there may be a twist.

Sources on the Hill close to these negotiations say the Census would, more or less by default, would fall under the jurisdiction of Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. That would be fine for Dems; But how would it sit with Republicans to have the former head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee exert control over the bureau that provides data used in redistricting?

A White House spokesman hasn't responded to us.


Senator Kennedy abruptly canceled the confirmation hearing for Rep. Hilda Solis, President Obama's nominee for Labor Secretary today. This actions comes on the heels of the revelation in USA Today that Solis' husband had $6,400 of tax liens against his business which have been, "outstanding for as long as 16 years."

Will it never end?

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Point of Reflection

The great thing about democracy is that it gives every voter a chance to do something stupid.
- Art Spander

And the scandal continues...

As if the withdrawal of two high-profile nominees due to tax problems was not enough, an ex-aide of Commerce Secretary Judd Gregg has been accused of taking bribes in the form of sports tickets in return for legislative favors. The story is just another example of corruption in Washington. It is becoming a tiring trend.


  • Rahmbo Video
  • For distinctions among 501(c) groups, 527 groups and PACs.
  • For hard-money contribution limits.
  • For current data on congressional races.
  • Tuesday, February 3, 2009

    Interesting 2008 House Ads

    Alright, I admit, these are mostly from the Republican side, but here are some interesting House ads from 2008

    First positive ones
    Bill Cassidy (R-LA)

    Cassidy beat Congressman Don Cazayoux

    Lou Barletta (R-PA)

    Barletta lost because of how well Obama did in PA

    Negative Ads
    Against Paul Carmouche (D-LA)

    Carmouche barely lost

    Against Raul Martinez (D-FL)

    Martinez lost

    Against Jim Esch (D-NE)

    Esch lost

    Against Tim Bee (R-AZ)

    Bee lost...most DCCC from this cycle have a pretty similar theme to this ad, trying to tie Bush to every candidate

    Most controversial ad of cycle, against Parker Griffith (D-AL), one station would not continue playing the ad

    Griffith won.

    One of the most talked about ads, Tom Feeney (R-FL)

    Feeney lost

    And finally just funny...
    Against Dina Titus (D-NV) by Freedom's Watch

    Titus Won

    There are hundreds of House ads out there, these are some of the most interesting ads, and some of the most used themes from the cycle.

    The other shoe?

    I (and I assume a number of you) am eating my words on Tom Daschle today. Despite earlier claims that he would push on in the face of his own tax fraud and despite even the significant support which has rallied around him, he has withdrawn from consideration for Health and Human Services. For now we can only speculate, but it's hard to resist drawing the conclusion that this surprise move is preempting the revelation of a larger scandal.

    See: the times

    First Lady Steps Out of the White House

    Yesterday, Michelle Obama made her first "official" appearance at the Dept. of Education. This article gives us a snapshot of what her goals are as and how she may accomplish them. I am just as interested in following her progress as I am the President's. It will be interesting to see what types of relations she develops with the Hill/Congress, if any. I get the feeling that everyone's watching.. waiting... to see what she'll do next. 

    Monday, February 2, 2009

    Rahm Roasted

    Here's an older video of then-Senator Obama roasting Rahm Emanuel. I thought it was funny, and at least related to Wednesday's readings.

    Obama begins talking about a minute and a half in.

    Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aHX-g1FtaMs&eurl=http://www.politico.com/blogs/anneschroeder/

    Rahmbo insults children

    Our beloved Chief of Staff has no patience for congratulatory, crayon-wielding schoolchildren insulting Old Glory. His callous disregard for the future leaders of these United States is moderately alarming.


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