ABOUT THIS BLOG
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.
Monday, January 31, 2011
Sunday, January 30, 2011
Today's Gallup poll, I think, reveals anew why this insight of McConnell's was so crucial. What McConnell was really saying here is that if any Republicans signed on to Obama's proposals, it risked suggesting to the American people that Obama's governing approach was moderate or even somewhat centrist -- something that could command some agreement. By contrast, when no Republicans signed on to Obama's proposals it made it far easier for them to paint Obama's agenda as ideologically off the rails to the left, which is exactly what they did.
If no Republicans were willing to sign on to Obama's proposals, that had to indicate that something was seriously amiss and that there was cause for real alarm about the overreaching nature of his agenda, right? And judging by the outcome of the midterms, this strategy worked.
Indeed, it's no accident that in the wake of Obama's successful passage of legislation with bipartisan support -- the tax deal, the New START treaty, the repeal of don't ask don't tell -- the new NBC/WSJ poll finds that the number who think Obama is "moderate" has suddenly jumped to the highest ever of his presidency. As McConnell recognized, denying Obama bipartisan support during his first two years made it far easier to paint him as an out-of-control old-style big government liberal -- and as a result, now the public wants him to keep moving to the right in the new era of divided government. Brilliant.
In the first two years of Barack Obama's presidency, Mitch McConnell raised the art of obstructionism to new levels. When McConnell and his united GOP troops couldn't stop things from getting through the Senate, they made sure the Democrats paid a heavy price for winning.
But now, the Senate minority leader who used to refer to himself as "the abominable no-man" faces a very different challenge: Can he actually deliver?
"The first two years, it was frankly pretty simple. From my point of view, they didn't try to do anything in the political center in the first two years, so there was no particular appeal" in trying to get things done, McConnell said in an interview, as he traveled his home state during a recent recess. "The biggest difference will be deciding when we are actually in a position to work with the administration, and when we aren't."
Saturday, January 29, 2011
Adam Sharp fits in well in the Beltway political scene where he used to work — first in the office of Senator Mary L. Landrieu, and then as the executive producer for digital services at C-Span. But his new job, as Twitter’s Washington liaison, requires a slightly different skill set.
Now Mr. Sharp, a 32-year-old with brown hair, glasses and a sprinkling of pale freckles across his face, is the human embodiment of Twitter, an energetic and smiling ambassador for that ubiquitous blue bird, ready and willing to answer questions, troubleshoot and offer free tips.
When Twitter hired Mr. Sharp late last year, his job was not to convince a few slow-to-adapt House members that they needed to get with the times. Instead, he is trying to help the thousands of politicians and government employees already on Twitter to use it better.
Since he officially began work on Dec. 1, the job has been evolving. (When Republicans regained control of the House, Mr. Sharp helped the chamber’s new leaders seamlessly switch their Twitter handles to reflect their new roles, John A. Boehner, for example, upgraded from @GOPLeader to @SpeakerBoehner.)
“His job strikes me as making lots of friends and helping lots of people, and who would not return a phone call from Twitter these days?” said Howard Mortman, the communications director for C-Span, who worked with Mr. Sharp. “I think he is getting incredible access, the kind of access many folks would be jealous of, because he is offering a service that many people want these days.”
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
A Politico article hailing renewed Democratic embrace of moderation cites Former Sen. Evan Bayh’s (D-Ind.) belief that “Democrats might have kept control of the House if they pursued a more moderate course during President Barack Obama’s first two years in office.It is not quite a revolutionary thought, but offers a footnote perspective to our Connelly reading which discusses the choice which House Democrats made in 2002 between Nancy Pelosi and Martin Frost for Minority Leader. They stuck with Pelosi’s more liberal route to distinguish themselves from Republicans and offer a positive agenda, renewing the commitment upon gaining the majority. At least it worked for eight years.
It is also interesting to note that Democrats are not the only ones shifting a step right. My own Congresswoman, Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA) worked hard in a moderately Democratic district the entire election to be cast as a moderate Republican. She avoided Tea Party rallies and candidates. I was surprised to see her seated next to Michelle Bachmann at the SOU address and identified by national news sources as a Tea Party Republican--something I doubt her office would encourage in my local papers.
But it is not possible to give to each department an equal power of self-defense. In republican government, the legislative authority necessarily predominates. The remedy for this inconveniency is to divide the legislature into different branches; and to render them, by different modes of election and different principles of action, as little connected with each other as the nature of their common functions and their common dependence on the society will admit. It may even be necessary to guard against dangerous encroachments by still further precautions.
A House session:
One major difference between the chambers is that few House members run for president, and seldom get far when they do (see Duncan Hunter and Dennis Kucinich). But a fairly large fraction of senators have gone for the White House.
- Lamar Alexander (R-TN) 1996, 2000
- Tom Harkin (D-IA) 1992
- Orrin Hatch (R-UT) 2000
- John Kerry (D-MA) 2004
- Joseph Lieberman (D-CT) 2004
- Richard Lugar (R-IN) 1996
- John McCain (R-AZ) 2000, 2008
- And of course rememember President Obama, Vice President Biden, and Secretary of State Clinton.
Senator Tom Udall (D-NM), whom I worked for this past summer, tried to reform the Senate filibuster at the beginning of this session of Congress. Although, his efforts were not entirely successful, he did move party leaders toward more modest reforms such as limiting the executive branch nominations subject to Senate confirmation, making it more difficult for senators to anonymously block nominations or legislation, and ending certain stall tactics.
Here is a Politico article on the subject.
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Is there precedent for additional groups like the Tea Party giving a response to the State of the Union, or is this something new?
Monday, January 24, 2011
Thursday, January 20, 2011
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
The following is a link to an article I wrote for the Port Side a week ago based on my interview of Isabelle Heilman a Tucson-native CMC student who felt close to the Gabrielle Giffords shooting.
From the article:
The assassination attempt on Congresswoman and Scripps alumna Gabrielle Giffords in Arizona this past Saturday sent shockwaves through the Claremont community. Yet for one CMC student, the tragedy truly hit home.
Isabelle Heilman (CMC ’13) hails from Tucson and lives in Rep. Gifford’s 8th District. The scene of the tragic shootings was the Safeway grocery store where Heilman’s family shops every Saturday. According to Heilman, the shootings occured only “two minutes away from my house.”
Sunday, January 16, 2011
Despite the chest-thumping rhetoric about slashing budgets, repealing health care and staunch oversight of the federal government, House Republicans are trying to get across a competing message: We are not in charge.
This message from the Republican majority, repeated publicly and behind closed doors at their winter retreat, amounts to a quick bid to ramp down high expectations in the early days of the new Congress.
“We also understand that we as Republicans do not control this federal government — the other party does,” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said plainly, before introducing Govs. Rick Perry (Texas), Haley Barbour (Miss.) and Bob McDonnell (Va.) here.
The message holds mixed fortunes for the GOP. Too much over-thinking on who is in charge will elicit charges the GOP is trying to pass responsibility to Democrats, who indeed control the Senate and the White House. But it could also serve as a useful tool to lower expectations among voters who believe the new House majority will be able to complete ambitious tasks like repealing Democrats’ health care overhaul.
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
McConnell, 68, is owlish, phlegmatic, and gray, and often looks bothered, as though lunch isn’t agreeing with him. He has been described as having “the natural charisma of an oyster.” Yet you sense that this is not so much a burden as a choice, that he has pared away any qualities extraneous to his political advancement. McConnell has the relentless drive and ambition you frequently encounter in Washington. But unlike so many others, he longs to be not president but majority leader of the Senate—a position conferred by his peers and not voters, so geniality and popularity with the press don’t interest him. “Every answer he ever gives is geared toward strategy within the Senate,” says his friend Senator Robert Bennett of Utah, meaning this as a compliment.
“Reporters underestimate how powerful the calendar is,” says Jim Manley, the former communications director for Harry Reid, the Democratic Senate leader. “Say you want to break a filibuster. On Monday, you file cloture on a motion to proceed for a vote on Wednesday. Assuming you get it, your opponents are allowed 30 hours of debate post-cloture on the motion to proceed. That takes you to Friday, and doesn’t cover amendments. The following Monday you file cloture on the bill itself, vote Wednesday, then 30 more hours of debate, and suddenly two weeks have gone by, for something that’s not even controversial.” All of this has slowed Senate business to a crawl.
“We worked very hard to keep our fingerprints off of these proposals,” McConnell says. “Because we thought—correctly, I think—that the only way the American people would know that a great debate was going on was if the measures were not bipartisan. When you hang the ‘bipartisan’ tag on something, the perception is that differences have been worked out, and there’s a broad agreement that that’s the way forward.”
- ► 2016 (128)
- Perhaps the RNC needs a bailout?
- Parties and Leaders
- Nancy Pelosi Strikes Sharp Contrast
- Senate Republicans
- Tweets on the Hill
- A Politico article hailing renewed Democratic embr...
- SOTU Seating Chart
- Two Congresses, Two Chambers
- Senate Rules Reform
- The Stories Behind the Visitors in the State of th...
- Tea Party Response to State of the Union
- Washington to Expect a Different Kind of Freeze
- Title for a Male FLOTUS
- Members of Congress and Life on the Hill
- News is Power
- Tucson Tragedy Hits Home for CMC Student
- Health Care Comments
- Daschle Reflects
- GOP Does Not Rule. Madison Does.
- Mitch McConnell
- ▼ January (21)