That's a stunningly condescending way for you to make a point that is a matter of opinion, not factual.
Those of us who have worked in the legislative process understand "catch-and-release" when you let just enough of your more vulnerable members vote no so that you can pass it. The Senate understands this and a narrow margin of victory will not weaken the bill over there.
Sen. Craig Pridemore of Vancouver? He's a solid, great guy who used to be Clark County Commissioner. I think he would be a great congressman. Not sure how well he would play in the more conservative timberland parts of the district.
The transportation stimulus bill in Washington was put together behind closed doors by roads enthusiast Rep. Judy Clibborn, the House Transportation Chair, and roads fanatic Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen, the Senate Transportation Chair. Transit advocates were not at the table, and exactly $0 went to the state's biggest city, Seattle. Far more money went to Clibborn and Haugen's districts and to repaving long stretches of Interstate 90 in (heavily Republican) central Washington that were already in pretty good shape before being repaved (in contrast to creaking infrastructure in central Puget Sound).
If you're bringing a group of 4, it will almost always be cheaper to drive, even with gas and parking. The train will mainly appeal to solo passengers or couples, expect for those looking for a real adventure.
It has to do with the already-congested Cajon Pass which completing rail from Victorville to LA would require running lines through. It would be prohibitively expensive. That's why I think this whole route is somewhat of a boondoggle until the question of how to complete the link to LA is solved. Other high-speed rail corridors elsewhere in the country are more deserving of the money.
Las Vegas-Victorville is a less attractive route, both because it wouldn't go all the way to LA and because there's almost nothing between Las Vegas and metro LA. The other high-speed corridors (California, Midwest, Northwest, Florida, Northeast) are more attractive because there are destinations in between, which is a key ingredient in making rail successful.
That said, you're dead right that the increased focus on high-speed rail is one of the very strongest aspects of the stimulus plan. Hopefully Rep. Oberstar's approach for transportation funding (adding an additional $50 billion for high-speed rail) is followed by the Obama administration, which to this point is taking a more halfhearted approach to the transportation bill.
But the game's not just about social issues. Moran's campaign relentlessly attacked Deeds for taking a painful vote to raise the gas tax in order to finance badly needed transportation improvements, primarily in northern Virginia--far from Deeds's base. Moran, in contrast, voted against the increase with his eye on the gubernatorial race and helped to kill it. Bad demagoguery and bad policy on Moran's part, and the reason I'm a progressive cheering Deeds's victory tonight.
She was running against Sununu until Shaheen got in the race. Then she dropped out. That's why she has such a pit war chest. She gets a bad rap in the blogs because she was a Lieberman supporter, but nothing about her positions is particularly conservative besides her support of Israel, which is fair considering that her dad (late Rep. Tom Lantos) was a Holocaust survivor.