They sure as hell don't mind disrespecting the will of the entire country though, do they? This smells of them finding an excuse to jam through the crappy bill passed by the Senate and telling the House they have to go along with it or it's a failure for the Democratic Party. Lawrence O'Donnell was on MSNBC and said Harry Reid would not seat Brown until Massachusetts submitted all of their paperwork for the election which is going to take a couple of weeks. So they would have two weeks to still try to reconcile the bill and make it better without worrying about Brown's vote if that's what they wanted to do.
The Republicans and Brown would be screaming like banshees but who cares. They can't be screaming much louder than they are right now. So either they want the Senate bill passed or they don't care if HCR passes at all IMO, but who knows. I guess we'll find out shortly as this plays out.
L. KING: John King is at Brown headquarters.
The last Republican from Massachusetts, John, you know it well, I guess, was Senator Ed Brooke, the black liberal Republican, was it not, in -- in, was that '78 -- '68 maybe?
J. KING: He was a moderate -- you're exactly right, Larry. Ed Brooke was a moderate Republican from Western Massachusetts. He served two terms. He left the United States Senate in 1979. And not since then has Massachusetts sent a Republican to the Senate.
But tonight, Massachusetts has not only decided to send a Republican to the Senate, Larry, Massachusetts is sending a very blunt message to President Obama and the national Democratic Party.
Scott Brown campaigned against the Obama health care plan, against the Obama stimulus plan, against what he calls "the spending and the taxing in Washington, D.C."
And voters in a state that Obama carried by 26 points have now, by a significant margin, decided to send a Republican, Scott Brown, to Washington.
And I want to echo the point, Wolf, just made. I'm told by two Republican sources high up in the Brown campaign that Martha Coakley, the Democratic candidate, called a short time ago to say she was conceding the race. I'm told she congratulated Scott Brown on the campaign and wished him well in the very consequential days he has ahead, Larry, as he goes to Washington now to take the seat that Edward M. Kennedy, the liberal icon, held for 46 years.
L. KING: One other thing, John. And we'll discuss it later and certainly at length in our -- in our midnight show, is he can't be sworn in, according to Massachusetts law, until the 29th.
Can the Democrats in the House and Senate try to do something before then on health?
J. KING: Can -- the answer to can they is yes. The answer to will they is don't be so sure. The White House has sent signals it would like to try to move fast. But many Democrats are saying that that would be dangerous, if you disrespect the will of the people of Massachusetts.
This election is being fueled by Independent voters, Larry. Independent voters are very powerful in many of the other key states and key races this year. Many Democrats are afford that if they act quickly in that interim period, they will cause a lot more trouble for themselves in the long-term than any benefit they would get in the short-term.
L. KING: Thanks, John.
In the wake of the failed underpants bombing attempt, new airport security rules have been added, and discussion has ramped up of the use of full-body scanners and other invasive technologies. We ask Liliana Segura of AlterNet and Spencer Ackerman of the[...]
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An exit survey of Massachusetts voters confirms that ?decreased turnout among constituencies that historically have voted for progressive candidates,? combined with a strong Republican performance among independents, delivered Scott Brown the margins he needed to win.
The poll, which was commissioned by ?Women?s Voices, Women Vote? and conducted by Lake Research Partners (a firm headed by Martha Coakley?s pollster Celinda Lake), found that key demographic supporters of Obama (unmarried women, people of color, and younger voters) did not turn out in large numbers for Democrats. The Massachusetts turnout reflects recent trends in the Virginia and New Jersey gubernatorial elections.
Martha Coakley reportedly did ?no outreach? to communities of color and neglected to do any advertising in the African-American or Hispanic media. Voters under age of 40 went to Brown by a margin of 52% to 46%. But younger voters in general turned out at lower rates than in the past. The percentage of unmarried women who comprised the percentage of all voters fell 5 points from 2008. And, self-identified independents flocked to Brown in droves — 76% to 21%.
But even despite the depressed progressive turnout in yesterday?s election, a majority of voters (51%) still felt Obama and the Democrats are taking the country in the right direction. Issues, while important to voters, split along partisan lines: Coakley won health care voters, while Brown won among jobs and economy voters and tax/spending voters:
– Forty-six (46%) of voters said their vote was mainly to show support for health care reform rather than to show opposition to it (35%).
– Independents sent a clearer signal on the issue, with 44% stating their vote was mainly in opposition to reform and 30% saying it was mainly in support.
– Coakley voters were stronger in their support for reform (80% said their vote was mainly in support of reform) than Brown voters were in opposition to it (65% said their vote was mainly in opposition to reform).
– Coakley won among voters who rated health care reform a ?10? on an importance scale (Coakley 53% to 47% for Brown), Brown won among voters who said the same for jobs and the economy (Brown 55% to 44% for Coakley) and won bigger among voters who highlighted taxes and spending (Brown 70% to Coakley 29%).
Many pundits are leaping to blame progressives. Glenn Beck said yesterday, ?The progressive movement is sucking the blood out of each of the parties.? Conservative Democrat Lanny Davis said ?blame the left for Massachusetts.? While there?s plenty of blame to go around, one thing that’s certain is that the progressive base’s current lack of enthusiasm is hurting Democratic candidates.
If there was one quote that summed up my feelings from this morning's post Massachusetts Senate election round-up, it was this.
"I'm hoping that it gives a message to the country," said Marlene Connolly, 73, of North Andover, a lifelong Democrat who said she cast her first vote for a Republican on Tuesday. "I think if Massachusetts puts Brown in, it's a message of 'that's enough.' Let's stop the giveaways and let's get jobs going."
The loss in Massachusetts should prompt President Obama to tear up the drafts of this State of the Union to be delivered a week from today. He needs to cast the theme for the rest of his Presidency in the single minded agenda of reform. The historian Joseph Ellis once wrote, "The main story line of American History, cast Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton in the lead roles of a dramatic contest between the forces of Democracy and the forces of the Elites". Needless to say Jefferson's hostility to Hamilton's alliance with the New York Bankers who wanted to vest control in a strong Federal government (so as to redeem in dollars the government bonds they had bought for pennies), is mirrored in our own righteous anger today.
As I have been saying for a while, this battle is not so much a Right vs. Left battle as a Democracy vs. The Elites battle. How Obama ever got identified with the Elites in his first year, will be the subject of historians for decades to come. But he must make it clear that the next three years will be a battle to change the very nature of a Congress where nothing gets done if the money power doesn't want it done. The first thing he must do is support the bipartisan Fair Elections Now Act that was offered this year by Sens. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Arlen Specter (R-PA), and Reps. John Larson (D-CT) and Walter Jones (R-NC).
Under this legislation, congressional candidates who raise a threshold number of small-dollar donations would qualify for a chunk of funding--several hundred thousand dollars for House, millions for many Senate races. If they accept this funding, they can't raise big-dollar donations. But they can raise contributions up to $100, which would be matched four to one by a central fund. Reduced fees for TV airtime is also an element of this bill. This would create an incentive for politicians to opt into this system and run people-powered campaigns.
That would be hope we can believe in.
Some are calling it the "Upset of the Century" (personally, I think electing a junior Senator named Barack Obama to be President was a bigger surprise). Call it what you will, Attorney General Martha Coakley lost the Senate seat that was held by Senator Edward Kennedy for 46 years, in a state that has a more "liberal" health care Law than the current US Senate bill and allows gay marriage, to GOP, and friend of the "tea party" (rights reserved?), Scott Brown.
With 18 more votes, the Democrats now control the US Senate with a 9 Vote majority, 59-41 (including "Independents" Jef
Village Voice: "Scott Brown Wins Mass. Race, Giving GOP 41-59 Majority in the Senate"[...]
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It's not just why Scott Brown won that matters -- even more important is why it matters that Scott Brown won.
Remember, last night we went from a 60-40 Democratic majority to 59-41. On Tuesday, we had a 20-vote margin in the Senate. On Wednesday, we had an 18-vote margin.
In any other legislative body, Brown's victory would have been completely inconsequential. But in the United States Senate, thanks to the Democratic willingness to let Republicans abuse the filibuster rule, going from 60-40 to 59-41 makes all the difference in the world.
The pathetic thing here is that it didn't have to be this way. For the past year, progressives have been arguing that Democrats should push the envelope on Senate rules and exploit procedures like reconciliation that allow them to pass legislation with a simple majority.
Sure, such procedures aren't perfect. But as we've been told time and time again, we must not let the perfect be the enemy of the good.
Yet here we are in the latter half of January, 2010, one vote short of 60 in the Senate, and staring at a complete and total lack of ability to move forward on anything because the Democratic leadership has not raised its voice against the filibuster, nor have they set forth the arguments for how they will get around it.
Instead of challenging the filibuster, Democrats have bought into the notion that you need 60 votes in the Senate to pass legislation.
You need 50+1 votes to pass legislation in the U.S. Senate. On most measures, you can block a vote with just 41 Senators, but that is just a Senate rule, and that can be changed. Now that the GOP is abusing it in unprecedented fashion, the argument for changing the filibuster is as strong as it has ever been.
But Democrats have shown zero interests in doing so. They seem to like the idea of letting 41 Republicans rule the roost. They may not agree on policy, but they sure do agree that 41 is greater than 59.
At this point, it seems that the Democratic plan is to hope Republicans will work with them. Who knows? Maybe they will strike gold. But everything we've learned in the last year tells us that Republicans will not be willing to work with Democrats.
And why should they? After a year of Limbaugh and Beck and Fox and teabagging, the Republican plan of lurching hard right and using the threat of a filibuster to block progress on just about every major issue has worked like charm. They've scared the Democratic Party shitless. They've rendered Democrats impotent.
Why would Republicans change course now? Why should they? Democrats haven't challenged their abuse of Senate procedure in any sort of meaningful way. What risk is there for Republicans in pursuing their strategy?
We can debate endlessly about why exactly Scott Brown won, but the point is that his victory shouldn't matter as much as it does.
But yet it does matter. It matters so much because the Senate is a completely dysfunctional institution, and even though Republicans have been the driving force behind that dysfunction, Democrats have been all-too-willing to go along with the GOP.
Sure, it's beyond idiotic. It's the height of stupidity. But it's also what happened. And now we're seeing the consequences.
For Democrats, the only way out will be challenging the notion that 41 Republicans should be able to dictate legislative outcomes. But given Democratic acceptance of the filibuster rule, it might be too late.
The Plan B discussions being forwarded by the Village Dems and Village Bloggers seem to focus on the idea of the House passing the Senate bill and, as an afterthought, maybe, fixing the bill through reconciliation. It is clear is that they seem oblivious to the fact that the only constituency for the Stand Alone Senate Bill is them. Consider this Open Letter to House Dems from Jonathan Cohn:
Dear Nervous and Frustrated House Democrat,
Its up to you. [. . .] [I]f you find a way to pass legislation, then you have something to show for your efforts--an accomplishment you can tout, legitimately, as making people's lives better. [. . .] [Y]ou can pass health care reform very quickly if you want. All you have to do is vote for the Senate bill, as written. Yes, Im aware of its flaws. But its also far better than nothing.
(Emphasis supplied.) Meanwhile, back on Planet Earth, the idea of "touting" the Senate health bill in the 2010 elections elicits hearty guffaws from Republicans. And rightly so. The Village Dems need a better pitch. And it happens to be there for them. From Cohn's letter:
Once the main bill is passed, you can always revisit it--perhaps right away, by passing a patch through the reconciliation process. If you're clever--and you are--you'll extract some sort of promise from the president and Senate leadership to make sure the patch gets enacted.
The Village Dems need to make this central to their pitch, not an afterthought. At least if they are pitching progressives. If pitching Blue Dogs, I suppose you will have to promise them that will NOT happen. But do not pitch them to vote for the Senate health bill with lines that make them laugh in your face:
I dont want to mislead you: You could pass the Senate bill, which you may really not like, and still lose reelection. But passing health care reform would seem, if anything, to improve your odds of political survival. And if it doesnt--if youre doomed to lose anyway--enacting health care reform would give you a meaningful accomplishment in your record.
Heh. Passing the Stand Alone Senate bill increases the chances of losing reelection. Imagine what the unions will say and do. Progressive activists. Folks who oppose the bill period. Indeed, no one is actually FOR the Senate bill. Except the Village Dems. Therein lies the political problem.
The Village Dems need a better pitch.
Speaking for me only
A new professional basketball league called the All-American Basketball Alliance (AABA) sent out a press release on Sunday saying that it intends to start its inaugural season in June, with teams in 12 U.S. cities. However, the AABA is different from other sports leagues because only players who are “natural born United States citizens with both parents of Caucasian race are eligible to play in the league.” AABA commissioner Don “Moose” Lewis insists that he’s not racist, but he just wants to get away from the “street-ball” played by “people of color” and back to “fundamental basketball.” Lewis cited the recent incidents of bad behavior by NBA players, implying that such actions would never happen with white players:
“There’s nothing hatred about what we’re doing,” he said. “I don’t hate anyone of color. But people of white, American-born citizens are in the minority now. Here’s a league for white players to play fundamental basketball, which they like.” [...]
He pointed out recent incidents in the NBA, including Gilbert Arenas’ indefinite suspension after bringing guns into the Washington Wizards locker room, as examples of fans’ dissatisfaction with the way current professional sports are run.
“Would you want to go to the game and worry about a player flipping you off or attacking you in the stands or grabbing their crotch?” he said. “That’s the culture today, and in a free country we should have the right to move ourselves in a better direction.”
The AABA is targeting Southern cities, but one proposed city — Augusta, GA — is opposed to the league. Several other cities have reportedly told Lewis to “stay out of town.” Watch a report by August tv station WJBF:
Joe Arpaio has said he'll cooperate with the federal investigation into whether he used his law enforcement powers to pursue political vendettas.
"I look forward to giving (investigators) everything that we have," the controversial Maricopa County sheriff said over the weekend, according to a Phoenix TV station. "Everything on all of the investigations, then I'm going to shut this off."
It's not clear what Arpaio meant by "shut this off."
A grand jury met last week for the first time in connection with the Justice Department probe. Numerous local officials, judges, and others have said that Arpaio targeted them for investigations after they crossed him.
Arpaio has sent mixed signals about his approach to the inquiry. He initially said he'd cooperate, but then hired a former Bush DOJ lawyer who has filed a series of what some call frivolous complaints, which appear designed to throw sand in the gears of the probe.
And now he appears to have once again signaled a willingness to cooperate.