On living in a three-party system

Yesterday's news that the House would submit a bill without Medicare + 5 (but still with some form of a public option) was not happy news for me and a lot of people here.

But it didn't necessarily surprise me: the blue dog democrats, like the Dixiecrats before them, don't necessarily have the same view of what Democrats stand for as I do. You could argue they don't have any democratic principles; I wouldn't necessarily disagree.

The part I find most frustrating is the belief -- held widely in the MSM but too often repeated here -- that Democrats control both houses of Congress and should be able to do whatever they want. In fact, that is not the case, and it has not really been the case in recent history.

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Whither Gay Marriage in NY

While news of yesterday's coup in the New York State Senate led to some knee-jerk reactions blaming those seeking marriage equality in New York, it has become apparent that gay marriage had nothing to do with the situation.

In fact, though both defecting senators had previously threatened to bolt the party over the issue, Sen. Espada now favors gay marriage, and Sen. Monserrate is now undecided. I just watched a local interview in which he reiterated that he has not yet decided how to vote.

In fact, Sen. Espada -- the new President Pro-Temp of the Senate -- wants to bring the bill to the floor. Sen. Skelos, the new majority leader, while opposing the bill, seems inclined to let the bill come up for a vote, which would be quite unusual for New York politics.

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BREAKING: Gay marriage now legal in Maine

The governor of Maine has just signed the bill:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/05/06 /maine-gay-marriage-legali_n_197850.html

I did read in the Times this morning that there is a "people's veto" law in Maine that can overturn the law. The implication of that article was that it might not go into effect until such a referendum is held, but I'm not sure on that point.

Still, excellent news, unless you hate it when the legislative activists enact laws instead of just sitting on their thumbs.

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Lesbian and Gay Bands to march in Inaugural Parade

The Lesbian and Gay Band Association, a confederation of LGBT bands throughout the world, has been invited to perform in the inaugural parade.

Probably we can expect to be skipped over in the televised coverage (at least of Fox News...), but everyone along the parade route can expect to see 175 LGBT musicians, drum majors, flag team members and twirlers proudly marching in the parade behind their "Lesbian and Gay Band Association" banner.

In 1992 and 1996, the LGBA massed band was seated along the parade route and entertained the nearby crowd before the parade; this is the first time we (or any other gay group) will march in the parade. [On the other hand, when we were seated along the route, it meant that President Clinton walked by us and gave us a thumbs up -- which was quite an emotional moment for us all. I suspect being in the line of march means we won't actually see President Obama, but such is the price of visibility to the rest of the crowd.]

It's a small gesture, but I hope it signals that we'll actually get the high level of support from an Obama administration that we expect (things like the McClurkin incident aside).

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Franken Ahead in MN Recount [or maybe not...watch along at home]

The Minneapolis Star Tribune has a frequently-updated count of the recount vote. As I write this, with 7% of the votes recounted, Franken has pulled into a lead of 570 votes.

Of course, anything can still happen. But I'm happily surprised to have seen this happen.

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Last night, a friend of mine lamented the fact that there was still a vast unbroken sea of red in the middle of the country.

Never mind that confusing real estate area with mass of people isn't a good idea -- today comes word that Obama is likely to pick up Omaha's congressional district.

That little blue square smack dab in the middle of the country will look sweet!

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Zogby disses Nate

I'm surprised that no one has mentioned that Zogby has concluded their one-day poll for McCain didn't really affect the overall results of their poll:

Reuters/C-SPAN/Zogby Poll: One Day Is Not A Trend: Obama Holds His Lead

So even with one good day of polling for McCain, Obama remains in the lead by 6.7% in the Zogby poll.

But what really got me is this:

Remember, as I said yesterday, one day does not make a trend. This is a three-day rolling average and no changes have been tectonic. A special note to blogger friends: calm it down. Lay off the cable television noise and look at your baseball cards in your spare time. It is better for your (and everyone else's) health.

Let's review: Zogby trumpets a one-point lead for McCain, and right-wing sites go nuts for that, even as Zogby cautions that a one-day reading might not be conclusive. Meanwhile, Nate correctly shows that the one-day result is likely an outlier -- basically echoing Zogby's caution.

Yet when Nate proves to have been correct and Drudge at all prove to have been mistaken, who does Zogby criticize: baseball statistician Nate.

I guess the real story is that Zogby is feeling the pressure of the success of fivethirtyeight.com. Perhaps if Zogby attempted to be an actually neutral polling outfit as they claim, they wouldn't have anything to worry about.

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Jewish-Americans for Obama

Okay, it's a short diary -- really, it's nothing more than a plug for my neighbor's excellent video on Jewish Americans supporting Obama. Check it out!

After all the hate from the alleged Christians on the right, it's refreshing to hear some positive religious viewpoints.

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Is No on Prop 8 winning?

I'm on a business trip in Santa Clara, CA. Yesterday I was a little disheartened to drive by a house proudly displaying an Obama for President sign next to a Yes on Prop 8 sign. So much for progressive values... But this morning, the news carried this poll:
Proposition 8, a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, is losing (52% to 44%) among likely voters.
Seems like great news, but I don't really know anything about the Public Policy Institute and how accurate they might be. Any Californian's out there know reliable this is likely to be?

Reliable or not, it's too soon to celebrate, of course; you can still donate to defeat Prop. 8

Sad, disillusioned...but I bought a democracy bond

A year ago, I was an idealist democrat with a small d: I believed that our party was interested in representing a majority of the people, and that among our first principles was that everyone gets to vote, and that we count all the votes.

Then the RBC enacted a rule that said 2.25 million votes don't count. And then I read more and more about just how undemocratic caucuses are: no private balloting, public intimidation, no opportunity for millions to participate because of the time commitment required, and so on. And then I learned that in one state, we actually allow people to vote twice.

And yesterday, just as I had been almost reconciled to the fact that rules were rules and can't be changed in the middle of the game (despite the fact that the rules violate a first principle of what I believe in), I watched the RBC completely ignore the rules and seat MI delegates arbitrarily rather than in accordance with the vote (or even not seat the delegates at all, which at least would have been in accordance with the "rule").

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