Reid in Senate Showdown with Republicans

In a shocking development this evening, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) “triggered a rarely used procedural option informally called the “nuclear option” to change the Senate rules,” The Hill reports.

“The Democratic leader had become fed up with Republican demands for votes on motions to suspend the rules after the Senate had voted to end a filibuster.”

Roll Call reports a “visibly upset” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) “said Reid was fundamentally turning the Senate into the House and was setting the precedent that the minority wouldn’t have a voice after 60 votes are invoked.”

However, David Waldman clarifies that what happened in the Senate “bears some strong similarities to what observers have come to think of as the ‘nuclear option,’ but there have been no changes to the rules that would really eliminate or in any way seriously constrain the use of the filibuster.”

What Politicians Could Learn from Steve Jobs

Matt Bai: “As in most other big American cities, it would be hard to walk 100 feet in Washington and not slam into somebody who’s using something that Apple created — an iPhone or an iPad or a Macbook Pro. And so it’s staggering to contemplate just how little of Steve Jobs’s genius ever permeated the nation’s politics, and how much he understood about modern America that those who govern it still don’t.”

The Horse Race So Far

Slate has a nifty way to summarize the GOP presidential race so far — an animated horse race, with real horses.


Extra Bonus Quote of the Day

“Absolutely, it’s strong enough to beat both of us. No matter what the circumstance, at the end of the day, the American people right now, many of them are in trouble, an even larger percentage have stagnant wages and a significant majority of the American people believe the country’s not moving in the right direction. That is never a good place to be going into a reelection.”

— Vice President Joe Biden, in an interview with David Gregory, on whether the Republican party is strong enough to win in 2012.

See more…

Taking it to the Voters

Jonathan Bernstein: “Want to know the tip-off that Barack Obama thinks of his jobs bill as a campaign strategy rather than a legislative vehicle? He hasn’t tried to gain any leverage over Republicans in Congress – in particular, he has not insisted on tying it to the upcoming full year government spending bills that Congress is scheduled to pass in mid-November.”

Howard Dean Welcome at the White House

Howard Dean tells Lloyd Grove that he’s back in the good graces of the White House now that Rahm Emanuel no longer works there.

Said Dean: “Since Rahm left, I get over there a fair amount.”

“As an Illinois congressman heading up the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Emanuel clashed bitterly with Dean over allocation of resources. As White House chief of staff, Emanuel made sure to publicly humiliate Dean by banning him from the DNC announcement ceremony when Obama appointed Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine as Dean’s replacement.”

Cain Would Consider Veep for Anyone but Perry

Herman Cain said that he would definitely consider an invitation to run for vice president — unless the Republican presidential nominee turns out to be Rick Perry, National Journalreports.

Said Cain: “Quite frankly, based upon Gov. Perry’s position on some issues, I would not be comfortable being his vice presidential nominee.”

Is Romney Trying to Game the Calendar?

Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign “pressed Nevada Republicans to move the caucusesinto January so that he could maintain momentum coming out of New Hampshire, a state he expects to win,” the Las Vegas Review Journal reports.

“Romney also is counting on winning Nevada, where he finished first in 2008.”

Politico notes Romney’s campaign “declined to confirm or deny” the story.

Secret Panel Can Put Americans on Kill List

“American militants like Anwar al-Awlaki are placed on a kill or capture list by a secretive panel of senior government officials, which then informs the president of its decisions,”Reuters reports.

“There is no public record of the operations or decisions of the panel, which is a subset of the White House’s National Security Council, several current and former officials said. Neither is there any law establishing its existence or setting out the rules by which it is supposed to operate… The role of the president in ordering or ratifying a decision to target a citizen is fuzzy.”

GOP Threatens to Strip New Hampshire of Status

In an effort to avoid Christmas in Iowa, Republicans “are pressuring New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner to put his state’s primary late enough to allow Iowa’s caucus to be in January, and are threatening the state with the loss of its favored status as the first-in-the-nation primary if he doesn’t do so,” The Hill reports.

“Gardner, who is not affiliated with a political party, has the sole authority to set New Hampshire’s primary date. A spokesperson in his office said he has no plans to make a decision before next week.”

Obama Presses for Jobs Bill Again

At a press conference, President Obama said there is “no doubt” that the American economy “is weaker now than it was at the beginning of 2011, and he called for the Senate to pass his jobs act when it takes up the measure next week,” the New York Times reports.

Said Obama: “The economy is just too fragile to let politics get in the way of action.”

Matthew Cooper: “But that bill can’t pass and won’t pass. So the really fierce urgency is about setting up a contrast with the Republican Party, which Obama has been eager to portray as obstructionist — and which the GOP has given him plenty of reason to say so.”

The Washington Post called the president “defiant and frustrated.”

Bonus Quote of the Day

“Thank God.”

— Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA), in an interview with WZLX-FM, responding to Elizabeth Warren’s comment that she “kept my clothes on” to pay for college, unlike Brown who posed nude for Cosmopolitan magazine.

Greg Sargent has more on the exchange and its possible implications.

Stripping for Votes

Polish politicians are setting a new standard for political ads. Over the weekend, we had the first political ad set to death metal.

Now, Katarzyna Lenart, a 23-year old parliamentary candidate for the Democratic Left Aliiance (SLD), imitates a famous scene from Basic Instinct, and then just strips. (It’s safe for work.)

The ad’s tagline: “Want more? Vote for SLD. Only we can do more.”

See more…

Christmas in Iowa?

First Read says the possibility of the Iowa caucuses in December might be “the straw that finally breaks the camel’s back on Iowa’s and New Hampshire’s dominance of the primary calendar.”

“Why? You could see a full-fledged rebellion — maybe not this cycle, but certainly the next — if candidates are forced to campaign and the news media is forced to descend upon Des Moines over the Christmas holiday. New Year’s Eve in Des Moines four years ago was one thing; Christmas Eve is another. The reason New Hampshire would pick Jan. 7 is to give it a full week of separation between Nevada’s contest. But it all depends on how seriously New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner takes the Nevada contest. If he doesn’t take it seriously and decides Nevada is not too similar to New Hampshire’s primary, the Granite State could stick with Jan. 10, allowing Iowa to go on Jan. 5, which at least keeps the start of the voting in the 2012 calendar year. But if he takes it seriously, it’s Christmas in Des Moines. And, folks, even for diehard defenders of the Iowa/New Hampshire start, that’ll be ridiculous.”

One thing to note: Every four years we hear about the possibility of the Iowa caucuses in December but it never happens.

Romney Puts Out Mock Perry Plan

Mitt Romney’s campaign just released Rick Perry’s jobs plan. Very amusing.

See more…

The Crazy Ones

Steve Jobs narrates the first “Think Different” commercial for Apple. It never aired using his voice and was redone with Richard Dreyfuss.

Meanwhile, Simon and Schuster has moved up publication of the much anticipated biography, Steve Jobs by Walter Issacson, to October 24.

See more…

Why the Truman Analogy Doesn’t Hold

Though many have suggested Harry Truman’s 1948 campaign against a “do-nothing Congress” as a model for President Obama, Brendan Nyhan points out that “the dramatic narrative of Truman’s victory doesn’t hold up to scrutiny.”

Key difference: “Truman’s comeback was fueled by ‘sizzling’ growth in the year before the election (the time when voters tend to most strongly reward economic improvement)… This well-timed surge in economic growth is likely to have played an important role in the success of Truman’s campaign. By contrast, the International Monetary Fund just downgraded its forecast for US economic growth in 2011 and 2012 to 1.5% and 1.8%, respectively.”

Rouse Rises Again

President Obama “is trying to streamline the day-to-day management inside the West Wing,” Bloomberg reports.

“With Chief of Staff Bill Daley at the helm and senior adviser David Plouffe managing political strategy and message, it was at times unclear who was in charge of the process during the debt debate, said people aware of the internal dynamics who requested anonymity because they aren’t authorized to speak publicly on the issue.”

“Since then, senior adviser Pete Rouse has been re-engaged in handling more of the daily operations, said people familiar with the internal adjustments who spoke on the basis of anonymity because they aren’t authorized to discuss personnel matters.”

Lawmaker Wants to Legalize “Dwarf Tossing”

In the name of job creation, Florida state Rep. Ritch Workman (R) filed a bill this week to bring back “dwarf tossing,” the “barbaric and dangerous barroom spectacle that was imported from Australia and thrived briefly in Florida before it was outlawed in 1989,” thePalm Beach Post reports.

Said Workman: “I’m on a quest to seek and destroy unnecessary burdens on the freedom and liberties of people. This is an example of Big Brother government. All that it does is prevent some dwarfs from getting jobs they would be happy to get.”

Quote of the Day

“She’s done as much to change the political landscape in America — probably as much as anyone since Ronald Reagan.”

— Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), in a Fox News interview, on Sarah Palin not running for president.

Nevada Sets Caucus Date

Nevada Republicans set January 14 for the GOP presidential caucuses, clearing the way for New Hampshire and Iowa to schedule their traditional first-in-the nation voting dates, the Las Vegas Review Journal reports.

“The new Nevada date, which falls on a Saturday, ensures the Silver State will hold the first 2012 vote in the West, after the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary and before the Jan. 21 South Carolina primary.”

Politico suggests the New Hampshire primary might be scheduled for January 3, with Iowa’s caucuses coming the week before that – in December.

Obama Disapproval Continues to Rise

A new Quinnipiac poll finds Americans dispprove of the job President Obama is doing by a 55% to 41% margin — and all time low.

Furthermore, they say by a 77% to 20% margin that the economy is in a recession.

Said pollster Peter Brown: “The trend isn’t good for President Obama. His disapproval has gone up 9 points since the summer, from 46% in July to 52% in September to 55% today. Especially troubling for the president is that voters say 49% to 39% that Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney would do a better job on the economy. GOP contender Rick Perry would do only slightly better, voters say, and Republicans in Congress would not be much better.”

Democrats Embrace Occupy Wall Street Protests

Democrats lawmakers are beginning to lend their voices to the Occupy Wall Street protests that have continued to grow in New York City and now may spread to Washington, D.C., according to The Hill.

“Several liberal House lawmakers endorsed the protests Wednesday, and the leaders of the Congressional Progressive Caucus said they had been inspired by demonstrators who have been arrested by the hundreds in New York City… Weeks of protests in New York have drawn national attention, and some leading Democrats have seized on the demonstrations as the liberal response to the Tea Party movement.”

One point worth noting is how similar the characterization of the Occupy Wall Street movement is to early descriptions of the Tea Party. Some highlights: “But even the most left-leaning Washington Democrats might find little appreciation from activists in the street, who say they are protesting a failure by both parties, and the political system as a whole, to respond to the struggles of a vast majority of Americans… The Occupy Wall Street demonstrations have drawn criticism for a lack of organization and clearly defined goals.”

Explore posts in the same categories: Candidates, National, Politics

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