I have very little use for Feingold anyway. He's great on civil liberties but all over the map on other important things (guns, nominations). In reality, he's very far from the leftist superhero that sets a lot of progressive hearts aflutter.
"I don't think the case has been effectively made for continuing to send more and more troops into Afghanistan"
That's not so much a point of skepticism as it is a statement of fact. McChrystal's recommendations aren't out yet, and they certainly haven't made it past Gates to Obama's desk. It may well happen that we send more troops in, and it may not realize many improvements in the war.
But Russ, let's not pretend that you'd be satisfied if only there were a better strategy. You'd oppose this move even if the Pentagon could easily demonstrate gains. You'd oppose this even if the strategy were clear and finite. You just don't like foreign deployments.
I'm also still curious to find out why Feingold voted to confirm Ashcroft but found that Geithner didn't rise to the same level. I suppose at least on the war issue, Russ will always be predictable. I credit him for that.
I too still like David Paterson. I'm almost afraid to stick my head above the ground on this one.
With the exception of his Senate appointment process, which I do concede was flawed and drawn-out, IMO, the opposition to Paterson has been one huge overreaction. It's almost to the point where his unpopularity has its own momentum. People without a strong opinion on Paterson have heard about how much he's disliked and kind of said "You know, I don't like him either". I haven't found much substance behind it.
Back in March, Paterson gave a speech near where I live. I spoke with a bunch of people leaving the event, and all were turned around on the man. Lots of "He's nowhere as bad as I thought...I actually liked the guy".
I still want to vote for Paterson, but he may lose us the Governor's mansion. Giuliani cannot be sent to Albany. While he and Lazio do their wingnut tango, it's very interesting to note that Cuomo has made next to no moves for a primary challenge.
I don't want the emotion around this issue to be tempered, but I do think it should be joined with more strategy. The whole OMG DO IT NOW!!1! could yield positive results if property channeled.
IMO, Congress should bear the brunt of the fury on this issue. CAP's recommendations are politically flawed. If Obama signs an executive order banning dismissals, it would certainly feel good in the short term. But let's be serious- Reid will never force the Senate to take this up if that happens. He'll slither out of whatever issue he can, and this is his exit.
The President has shown again and again that his focus is on the long-term. I want DADT to disappear forever and I want to be SURE that it is dead. I think the concern about the durability of DADT's death are legitimate, Josh. We all want JUSTICE! and yes, this is both a matter of priority and strategy.
Feingold's a mostly good Senator, but IMO he is on the moon when it comes to confirmation votes.
I'm still waiting for his explanation on why Tim Geithner did not deserve to be confirmed while John Ashcroft was OK.
Anyway, if Russ wants more info on her decision making process and philosophy as a judge, I recommend he open her old decisions and get crackin'. She's not going to be any less cautious during the hearing when the cameras are on.
Or maybe he could just quit pretending like his vote is up in the air.
I guess I'm just all around impatient with the charade that gets perpetrated every time a SCOTUS nominee comes up. Judges pretend like they don't have an opinion on the right to choose, Senators on either wing pretend to be open minded, Presidents act surprised that the "highly qualified" nominee they scrounge up happens to have a liberal/conservative bend.
Torsella is an ambitious guy. I really hope that Rendell doesn't manage to muscle him out.
In my personal opinion, if Specter wants the nomination, he should have to prove himself as a Democrat. He shouldn't just waltz on in boasting about his history as a prickly independent and think that it will be just fine. He's not Jeffords.
My personal attitude aside, a well-funded Democratic challenge is essential in this situation. Specter has proven that he can be easily pressured through electoral calculations. Torsella, or any other Democratic candidate needs to be all over the Senator for the big votes. I suspect a good Dem challenge will tamp down some of Specter's lingering Republican inclinations, and this could be very good for Obama's agenda.
It's good to have a Democrat in that seat, and I don't expect him to vote like Leahy. The 50% or more that Nelson sides with us is far better than having another Johanns in that seat.
That being said, I love watching the administration stick it to this guy on this issue. Nelson's position is indefensible to the national press, and for a publicity hound like him that's gotta sting.
For all the times Nelson self-importantly swoops in like the grand arbiter of all that is moderate and fair, and for all the times he puts himself out there like King Solomon, Savior of the Democrats...it's really nice to see both parties tell him to sit down and get over it.
I'm so excited about this legislative agenda. Mock if you must.
Reconciliation ensures that the bill need not be stripped down to meet the arbitrary wants of the posturing moderates.
Remember the stimulus fight? Snowe and Collins were just haphazardly shopping for cuts so that the Politico crowd could fawn over how 'sensible' they had been. It did not make any difference which lines were stripped out of the bill, as the Senate went back and forth on the matter until a random number was reached.
The Republicans can't play this game with reconciliation. It will only be the adults (read: Democrats) at the table. As an added bonus, we have enough votes to not have to deal with the annual BS of Bayh, Nelson or whoever else wants Villager attention.
The NY Conservative Party hates Giuliani. They loudly threatened to withhold their ballot line in the 2000 Senate race and made every indication that they would follow through. Even if it meant electing Hillary.
In 2004, they ran their own candidate and refused to get behind the Republicans. These folks have a long memory and are motivated by anger. Giuliani is never, ever getting them back.
The Republicans Party, meanwhile, would just piss themselves with glee if Rudy ran. They've got no one else. IMO, Rudy can just raise his hand and ask for the nomination...a primary isn't even a question.
So why...why on Earth is he putting himself out there on this issue? He's on the opposite side of most New Yorkers (not a small gap either) in order to woo conservatives who cannot stand him, 9/11 notwithstanding.
It appears that in politics, as in governing, Giuliani is just a dolt.
NY's Attorneys General have been able to take advantage old progressive-era laws in order to get concessions (and information that would be unobtainable in other states) from Wall Street firms.
The AG picks their bad guy, makes a move and almost always can threaten their way to victory. They have a lot of latitude in the battles they get to pick. Spitzer was an expert at this. Cuomo has also used these powers for some high-profile targets of his own choosing (student loan companies, AIG).
What still gets me about this whole situation is that Cuomo has made so few moves toward starting a campaign. I haven't seen any of the usual moves that would-be candidates make, and these things are ALWAYS put through the NY media early on.
Moynihan opted out of the '00 Senate race the day after Election Day in 1998. Spitzer was all over the '06 Governor's race by late 2004. How long has Willie Thompson been running for Mayor now?
We all assume Cuomo will run, but I wonder if he's waiting for the party leadership to pressure Paterson out so that Cuomo isn't the bad guy. Remember, Cuomo rattled many in the black community during his 2002 primary against Carl McCall.
What some people forget is that Spitzer's popularity was falling not long after his first budget in '07. The main reason for this was that he took on Medicaid spending and the hospitals, and the unions slammed him for it. The same thing is happening with Paterson.
This is much bigger than people's sensibilities being offended by semi-truths and whole truths being leaked to the press about Caroline Kennedy. You think New Yorker's aren't at least somewhat accustomed to that kind of hardball?
This is about the budget. Anyone who challenges 1199 in New York goes down- they will run enough ads to make it happen.
I was so hopeful for Paterson because he never had to promise these goons anything to win an election. Now Cuomo will come and promise them the world. They'll cut SUNY and K12 and food stamps and everything else to feed the biggest, most overfed money hog in NY politics.
Cooper's assertion that a lifetime of service on the federal bench "yields the likes of Scalia" is flat-out wrong. IMO, Scalia is the Justice who behaves most like a political creature. His Lawrence and Boumediene dissents were very short on law and high on crazed rhetoric.
I also don't like the above idea that a politician can mold a 5-4 split into a 6-3 or a (be still my heart!) 7-2 split. What's the practical impact? The conservative majority's opinions are more "durable?" David Broder is swept of his feet in a wave of judicial "bipartisanship?" Anyway, I reject the premise that a generic politician is better at forging (an unnecessary) consensus than a generic judge.
A Justice coming from the federal circuit has a much better understanding of how the Supreme Court's decisions and frequent lack of clarity can wreak havoc or highly benefit American jurisprudence.
Ironically, the politician-jurist is an anachronism for a political reason. Can you imagine the absolute terror involved with getting any Clinton, Feingold, or Dean on the Court? Long political records make the process infinitely more difficult.
Give me a young, strong liberal judge with a record not easy for the RW to distill into soundbites of attack. The confirmation will be that much easier (and more likely) and the outcome- which is the VOTE of the Justice - will be the same.
Personally, I never much liked Daschle. And though I was far from supporting Dean for President, I really hoped he would get the nomination.
That being said, I now tend to view the HHS Chief through the prism of the health care bill yet to come. I worry that Dean may not be our best advocate for the bill because the right and many in the middle have such an irrational distaste for him. He also has few relationships in Congress that I'm aware of. Those are the two things Daschle had going for him: he's mostly low-key and has fairly good relations with the players in Congress.
The coming fight for health care reform will be huge. The right will devote themselves to stopping it with a fervor equaling or surpassing what we threw against social security privatization.
More than any other legislative goal, I just hope Obama and the guy/girl he running HHS can get this done.
I'm not a Californian, and I'm only going on what I recall of the '92 campaign, but isn't Jerry Brown...a bit of a nut?
Yeah, he did good on Prop8, but your account jives what everything else I've heard: that's he's an egomaniac who only believes in party loyal as far as it suits him. And, (small detail) he isn't a good manager.
Can any other Golden Starers fill me in on Brown? AG is one thing, but was a good Governor? It's unusual to have a candidate for Governor who has, you know, been the Governor before. It seems unlikely to this East Coaster that his campaign will be about anything but his prior terms in office since that is the most relevant way to asses him.