Tag Archives: United States House of Representatives

Gabrielle Giffords Returns to the House

2 Aug

Yesterday, the vote voted in favor of the debt ceiling/spending cuts deal hashed out to avoid default. Tea partiers and the left detest the deal, which probably means it’s not that bad. Notably, Representative Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in the head by an armed madman in January, returned to the House to cast her vote in favor of the compromise package.

Welcome back, Congresswoman.

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The Line Between Investigating and Persecuting

11 Mar

In light of former terrorist-coddling New York Representative Peter King‘s detestable re-creation of the execrable House Un-American Activities Committee, I present to you three videos.

Two of them bring to mind Santayana’s admonition about those who forget history.

The last shows what America is really about.

Have a good weekend.

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The Election Season is Dead! Long Live the Election Season!

4 Nov

The fever wave gripped the nation far tighter than New York. As we head to a Thompson-Grisanti recount and a potentially split New York Senate, Schumer, Gillibrand, Higgins, Slaughter and Cuomo all cruised to their successes. Democrats nationally faired far worse.

Chris Smith recently asked where the GOP, in full embrace with the Tea Party, was ultimately headed. He projected a possible southern, regional party of dissention first. One hesitates to read too much into a single election, but the results on Tuesday were broad and deep. In Pennsylvania, where President Obama won by 10 points in 2008, Republicans gained the Governor’s mansion, a US Senate seat, four US House reps, and took over both chambers of the state legislature. That is Pennsylvania, not Texas, North Carolina or Oklahoma. Obama’s home state of Illinois went red, and brought Iowa, Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin with it. When over 60 House and 7 (8 maybe) Senate seats are gained, few regions are spared. Republicans also gained big in state legislatures, so much post-census re-districting will be gerrymandered in their favor.

“How could this happen?” ask the Democratic faithful. The answer is easy, and based upon soon-to-be Speaker Boehner’s first public statements, he understands. First, accurately interpret the message of the electorate. President Obama was elected to bring competent government, after the debacles in Iraq, Afghanistan, the economy, and Katrina. Change was a Change to good government. Second, deliver on the platform you were elected on, even if it is slightly different than the one you ran on. Obama spent his political capital on healthcare, but a $2.8 Trillion budget deficit over two years does not look like progress, it looks like incompetence. Enter Tuesday Night.

So what now? Three thoughts:

Hope that Boehner and Obama learn to enjoy a martini together. It was my prediction that the worst possible scenario was a Republican House, but a Democratic Senate and White House. Each side could blame the other, shun governance, and wait it out to 2012. Now that we are there, then the best we can hope for is that Boehner and Obama develop a Reagan/O’Neill relationship, and the Senate is ignored. If Harry Reid, despite the odds, stays Majority Leader, then he should be marginalized. If Schumer challenges and becomes Majority Leader, then he would happily join the two-some, and there is a chance bills leave conference committee and make it to the President’s desk.

Don’t fear the money. Meg Whitman spent $150 million and lost the governorship of California. Linda McMahon spent $50 million in Connecticut and lost. Tim Keane, DNC chairman, roamed the cable new airwaves (oxymoron?) Tuesday night complaining that $64 million was spent by unknown groups on attack ads against Democratic Senate candidates. $64 million. Avant cost more than $64 million. $64 million is a down payment on Canalside. $64 million is a pittance by any national standard. And in any case, money may be speech, but it clearly is not votes.  

Will the Tea Party amoeba “learn” from its overreach. At what point did a fight against deficits require a litmus test of one’s Birther credentials, or a call for Second Amendment Remedies? The most egregious Tea Party recruits, and the Sarah Palin picks – O’Donnell, Angle, Miller in Alaska – all lost. A small second tier of fringe candidates – Rand Paul – won. The big Tea Party successes were in the House, where some more extreme candidates made the cut. This should not be overplayed, however, as it is not a unique Tea Party phenomenon. A couple off candidates make it every cycle (Grayson from Florida, anyone).

Several exit polls indicate the number one voter concern is deficits. If the Republicans grab this Tea Party issue (while somehow managing to restrain themselves from the Muslim sleeper agent talk), and embrace it with the President’s Debt Commission, then we have a rare chance to address long term entitlement spending. Of the 428 non-incumbents running this year for seats in the House, the number one background of candidates (109) was “small business owner.” As the White House is long on academics, and short on practitioners, the Republicans could do well to harness some of the new budget acumen that the freshman are eager to display. And this new Chris Collins-esque national image makeover is already beginning. Haley Barbour, astute Republican governor of Mississippi, said yesterday that Republicans are the party of small-business, but there is no party of Wall Street or Big Business. Wall Street always goes with the winner. Ask Cuomo.

Two years ago I predicted the Republicans would Clinton-fy, eschew Palin, and tack to the center. I was wrong, but maybe not entirely. It was a predictable outcome that Republicans would go more anti-Centrist McCain after the 2008 loss, but a two year flirtation with Palin is not yet played out. If the worst of the Palin-promoted fringe candidates are left in the rearview mirror, and fiscal conservatism alone is what rules the day, then Obama, Boehner, and America’s budgets will be the beneficiaries.