Monday, March 30, 2009
Jon Chait is surely correct that if Obamas presidency fails it's the Congressional Democrats who'll be responsible . ... But a) Chait writes as if the only Democrats who might put parochial interests over national and party interests are Kent Conrad-style Senate moderates-- as opposed to, say, hard-core Dems who'll prevent Obama from killing ineffective liberal programs (and from being able to afford effective ones, because they insist on paying top-dollar "Davis-Bacon" wages). There are hacks on the left and right as well as in the center. ... b) Chait declares that Dems who want to "rein in deficits" are not necessarily pursuing "the national interest." In the long run? Really? ... c) He says Obama's budget "represents a once-in-a-generation chance for the Democratic Party to reshape the priorities of the federal government." So if Obama doesn't get his health care reserve fund passed this year, we have to give up on health care for a generation? Hype, I say. ... d) Chastising Dem dissenters, Chait claims "Republicans did not denounce Bush for squandering a budget surplus to benefit the rich." John McCain might be surprised to hear that. ... e) Chait says Bill Clinton "saw the core of his domestic agenda come to ruin," adding
The one factor within the Democrats' control is whether their constituents see Obama as a strong leader taking action, like Roosevelt or Kennedy, or a floundering weakling, like Carter or first-term Clinton.
I remember Clinton's first term as being rather effective--he passed welfare reform, NAFTA, and put the budget on a path to balance. Second term? Well, there was the "race initiative"! And he managed to preserve the surplus. Chait only says Clinton failed to pass "the core of his domestic agenda" because he doesn't like the idea that ending "welfare as we know it" was at the core of Clinton's domestic agenda. But Clinton campaigned on it at least as much as on health care. Marty Peretz could fill Chait in. ... 10:11 P.M.
Left Dem Robert Borosage wrote about labor's "card check" bill earlier this month:
[The bill] will be introduced into the House in the next couple weeks, where passage is guaranteed. The real donnybrook will be in the Senate where it has strong majority support but must overcome efforts by a conservative minority to block the vote with a filibuster . [E.A.]
"Conservative minority." Hmmm. Not so sure about that. Does "card check" as written even have a simple majority in the Senate anymore? Opponents seem to have 41 solid votes, and some 17 Democrats are apparently wavering. All it would take would be 10 of them to make those pushing the bill a "liberal minority." It reminds me of the dynamic surrounding "comprehensive immigration reform"--where we were also told that a conservative minority was blocking the bill, but where, on the crucial cloture vote, that "minority" turned out to have 53 votes (versus 46 for proponents).
There's only one way to find out for sure, of course. I'm not that curious. ... 9:49 P.M.
Anatomy of a succesful blog post: Matthew Yglesias finds a tiny, tiny little point to make ("[a]lmost nobody" watches daytime cable news, but "people who work professionally in the political arena " do) that lets him plug a banal quote from his boss , John Podesta. ... 9:23 P.M.
Twitter Beats Big Labor? Did a loose coalition of low-budget social networkers and tweeters defeat Measure B--a plan by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the mighty International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (which seems to be running the city's Department of Water and Power) to create union jobs putting up solar panels all over the city? That's what L.A. Weekly 's Daniel Heimpel claims . ... I can see some holes in his argument--Measure B was also opposed by the L.A. Times and by at least one prominent pol (Controller Laura Chick). And ballot measures usually have a tough road. Still! If it didn't happen this election, it will happen soon enough. ... 9:10 P.M